July 7 – Running of the Bulls in Spain

Posted on July 7, 2015

This just seems nuts to me:

Running in front of six huge (up to 1,1600 pounds!) bulls with long, sharp horns – plus nine other steers, and thousands of other people – within the narrow streets of Pamplona.

Most of the 20,000 + people who run with the bulls in Pamplona each year are young men. Two-thirds of last year's participants had never done it before – apparently, it is an experience most don't choose to repeat. And more than half of last year's runners were not Spaniards, but were rather foreigners / thrill-tourists.

There are some safety measures: You can't run with the bulls if you are under 18 or if you have been drinking alcohol. Also, participants must run the same direction as the bulls and are forbidden to “incite” the bulls.

There are double fences, and the spectators have to stand behind the second set of fences. The space between the first and second set of fences is a place where the runners can get away from the bulls, if they need to, and is also the place where about 200 volunteers, including nurses and doctors, lurk, ready to treat minor injuries or stabilize patients with more dangerous injuries before putting them into the nearby ambulances to be transported to a hospital.

Runners face the is danger of being stepped on or smashed against fences or buildings, by either bulls or other runners. Of course the biggest danger is being gored by a bull's horns. Most injuries are minor; there are from 200 to 300 injuries each year, but in more than a century (ever since records have been kept), only 15 people have died from bull running in Pamplona.

By the way, today's morning run isn't the only one in Pamplona this year – bull running happens every morning for a week!

Many animal rights activists are against the Running of the Bulls. Of course, the bulls are running to their doom, because at the end of the run, they will face matadors in a bullring, and the bullfight will almost certainly end in the bulls' deaths.

We saw these signs of the toro, considered an
important symbol of Spain, everywhere
when we traveled through Spain last summer!

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