A file picture taken on September 17, 2013 shows a horseman stabbing a bull with a spear during the ‘Toro de la Vega’ festival, in Tordesillas.
Authorities in a northern Spanish region have banned the killing of bulls during traditional festivals, in what animal rights activists hailed as a major victory.
The Castilla y Leon region outlawed on Thursday the killings at the annual Toro de la Vega festival in the town of Tordesillas, which lies about 190 kilometers northeast of Madrid, and other similar events.
“The government has approved… a decree banning the death of bulls in public in popular and traditional taurine events,” Castilla y Leon authorities said in a statement.
During the event that is held in September, men riding on horseback or on foot chase a bull into a field and then take stabs at it with sticks, lances and knives until the animal is killed. The person who manages to eventually kill the bull is given a medal.
Tordesillas town has been the scene of demonstrations by animal rights activists over the past few years. The activists say the “bloody medieval tradition” is a gruesome public event that should be ended.
A Spanish matador performs a pass with muleta to a bull during the San Isidro Feria at Las Ventas bullring in Madrid on May 19, 2016. ©AFP
The ban, however, will not affect the country’s controversial bullfights. The decision only outlaws the killing of the bull in events such as bull runs, and does not include the practice of taking stabs at the animal during the event.
The regional government’s decree should be approved by the regional parliament. The Tordesillas mayor, however, said that he will appeal the ban in the court.
PACMA, a political party that supports animals’ rights, said that the decree was “a historic step” toward ending all events that involves violence against animals.
PACMA chief Silvia Barquero said the issue was to see how the decree would be implemented.
“Will it allow people to take stabs at the bull or not? This should not be allowed as it would lead to the death of the bull,” she said.