Petition With 71,000 Signatures Against Cruel Bull Fiesta Presented To Territorial Delegate in Spain
Humane Society International Urges Spanish Authorities to Halt Event
Spain (19 June 2012) - Spain’s “Break A Spear” campaign, led by animal welfare groups Humane Society International/Europe, PartidoAnimalista, and CAS International, presented a petition of 71,000 signatures from citizens opposed to the Toro de la Vega bull fiesta to Pablo Trillo-Figueroa, the Territorial Delegate of Valladolid, Spain.
During the annual Toro de le Vega fiesta in the Castilla y León region of Spain, a bull is chased out of a town and into surrounding countryside by a crowd of people on foot and on horseback, where he is repeatedly stuck with spears before being stabbed to death.
"Break A Spear" (or “RompeUnaLanza”) refers to a medieval tradition of saving someone's honour. Petition signatories are therefore ‘breaking a spear’ in honour of the bulls, objecting to the cruelty and the special status that the fiesta has been awarded. The Toro de la Vega has been an event of "Regional Tourist Interest" since 1980.
“By signing the petition, tens of thousands of citizens are sending a resounding message to the Spanish authorities that they want the terrible cruelty of the Toro de la Vega to end once and for all,” said Kitty Block, vice president of HSI. “Fiestas should be a celebration, not an appalling spectacle of animal cruelty and we debase ourselves as human beings by portraying it as tourist entertainment. Our petition clearly shows that a growing number of Spanish people reject the idea that animal cruelty in any way represents true Spanish culture, and they break a spear to protect not only the honour of the bulls, but also of Spain, as a country of compassion.”
After the most recent fiesta last September, campaigners with “Break A Spear” submitted a complaint to local authorities that was endorsed by 11 Spanish veterinarians and biologists. The campaigners questioned the manner in which the bull was killed and called for an investigation of those responsible for the killing.
“El Toro de la Vega is not only a despicable event in itself, but it does a disservice to Spain, which lives on tourism,” said Silvia Barquero, spokesman for Spain’s Animalist Party. “The image that we show the rest of the world is regrettable, and it is incomprehensible that this event continues to be celebrated.”
The “Break A Spear” campaign has received high profile support from some of Spain’s foremost celebrities such as writer Rosa Montero, pop group Amaral, comedian Joaquin Reyes and gymnast Gervasio Defer.
Footage of the Toro de la Vega can be seen here. Warning: this is graphic footage of animal suffering. More details of the Break A Spear / RompeUnaLanza campaign can be found at: http://www.rompeunalanza.com/