In 2010, the Catalan government passed legislation that prohibited bullfighting in the northeastern Spanish region. Yet the same law protected a series of bull-related events celebrated at local fiestas in Catalonia, including bull runs known as correbous. Every year, around 450 events are held in Catalan cities, towns and villages that involve bulls. But an incident in Girona on Sunday, when a bull managed to get into the crowd at a mobile bullring, injuring 19 people, may force the local council to rethink such events.
One woman was left with serious injuries and had to have emergency surgery on Sunday night
Jordi Camps, the mayor of Vidreres, the village where the incident happened, insisted that the fiestas met with current regulations, despite the fact that the animal was able to leap over the fence and charge against a number of spectators. One woman was left with serious injuries and had to have emergency surgery on Sunday night. The bull was shot dead by local police officers.
The Vidreres council has issued a statement expressing regret over what happened, and has met with the company in charge of organizing the correbous to examine the incident. The council added that in the coming days it will decide whether to prohibit the event in the future, or whether the conditions for its celebration will be toughened up. The regional police force, the Mossos d’Esquadra, have opened an investigation to establish whether there was negligence on the part of the organizers. The regional Interior department has confirmed that the paperwork to authorize the activities involving bulls had been correctly processed and that there was no reason to reject the request.
The decision to protect fiestas such as correbous in Catalonia was taken by regional deputies from Catalan parties Convergència and the Catalan Republican Left (ERC), as well as the conservative Popular Party (PP) in the region and the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC). They argued at the time that these fiestas, where the bull is the protagonist, are part of a tradition that should be respected because they form part of local culture in many parts of the region. The legislation stated that these fiestas have origins that go as far back as the 17th century, and that they became more widespread in the following two centuries. Paradoxically, it was the same law that expressly “prohibited bullfighting.”
In ‘bou embolat,’ a bull is immobilized so that flaming torches can be tied to its horns before letting it loose through the streets
A total of 457 fiestas involving bulls took place in Catalonia last year, including what is known as bou embolat, when a bull is immobilized so that flaming torches can be tied to its horns before letting it loose through the streets, and the bou capllaçat, when the bull is dragged through the streets by ropes tied to its horns.
Most of these events, 439 in total, were celebrated in 30 or so municipalities in Terres de l’Ebre, in the south of the region, where a number of different activities involving bulls are scheduled in one day. Elsewhere in Catalonia there are other municipalities that program such bull runs, such as El Morell and Mont-roig del Camp in Tarragona.
Vidreres is the only municipality in Girona province that continues to run fiestas involving bulls, after Torroella de Montgrí, Olot and Roses opted not to continue with them. In Barcelona province, they are to be found in Cardona and Santpedor, while Badalona and Vilafranca del Penedès also offered them, after taking them off their programs several years ago.
English version by Simon Hunter.