The incident, captured on video by the AnimaNaturalis España animal rights group, took place in the early hours of July 1 as part of the annual Sant Pere festivities in Castellón’s Grau port district.
AnimaNaturalis’s report says that the horns of the six animals were set alight in a tradition known as the toro embolado, which involves attaching a metal frame with a spike to each of the horns of the animal. A tennis-sized ball of flammable material is then stuck on the spikes and set alight. In this case, the bulls were kept in the truck for close to a minute, “piled up and burning each other” until they were released “stampeding down the streets.”
The bulls were kept in the truck for close to a minute, “piled up and burning each other”
AnimaNaturalis says that setting fire to bulls’ horns in this way, which it has recorded and distributed on social networks, is in breach of animal-protection legislation in Valencia. It points out that a decree from 2015 regarding bull runs in the region highlight “safety” as the “exact nexus” to combine tradition with the carrying out of the fiesta. The legislation lays out the specific conditions that organizers of such events must meet and that expressly forbids mistreatment of bulls.
The group describes the events at the Sant Pere fiestas as “close to barbarism” and that they “seriously damage the image of the traditional festivities in Valencia involving bulls and their role in tourism.” It asks the regional government whether the organizers of the event, which was authorized, has informed the authorities that six bulls would have their horns set alight at the same time, and that this “evident mistreatment” would take place in the back of a livestock truck.
Castellón City Hall says it is investigating the incident “to see what happened, if the spectacle was recorded, etc. From there we will take the necessary measures.”
Around half of all fiestas in Spain involving bulls take place in Valencia, Castellón and Alicante, the three provinces that make up the region. According to the regional government, in 2016, there were almost 9,000 such events, with 4,600 bull runs in Castellón.
English version by Nick Lyne.