- An American, 20, was gored in the stomach – he is in serious condition
- A 42-year-old Spaniard was left with arm injuries
- The most bloody attack was a 31-year-old twice in the groin and once in the leg
- Three other people, including a 48-year-old American, were injured in the run
Gorings, bloody attacks, critical injuries and, potentially, death – this very well could be the scene that unfolds in Atlanta’s own backyard on October 19th at the Georgia International Horse Park. Atlantans will fear for their lives while running with bulls at The Great Bull Run, an event that is mimicking Pamplona’s Running of the Bulls.
Looking at these images from this year’s Running of the Bulls makes me sick to my stomach that this is going to happen right here in Atlanta.
The organizers of the Great Bull Run boast that only 15 people have died since the beginning of Spain’s event; however, the fact that anyone has lost their life is alarming.
It’s not the people I worry about, though. No, they’ve been given plenty of warning with disclaimers and legal documents that they’re being nonsensical over this preposterous event. I have grave concerns for the welfare of the bulls. The bulls are not able to opt out and say ‘this is ridiculous and I’m not taking part in it.’
I’ve been volunteering with Georgia Animal Rights & Protection (GARP) on this campaign, and we’ve partnered with PETA to urge the event organizers and the venue to not use live animals. The organizers may appear to have taken all of the precautionary measures for the animals, but there is no way to ensure the safety of the bulls.
Even though this isn’t the real Running of the Bulls and the event organizers claim it isn’t cruel because the bulls aren’t killed in a bullfight after the run, one has to question: are the bulls treated fairly? I have learned in my small amount of time with animal activism that you can’t take everything at face value. People are deceptive about the inconvenient truth when it comes to animals. Regardless, I’ll share with you what the organizers say on their website:
Are the bulls killed or abused?
No! Unlike the running of the bulls in Spain, we don’t kill the bulls in a bullfight, nor do we abuse them IN ANY WAY. We don’t hit them, shock them or deprive them of food, water, light or sleep. In fact, we have a veterinarian on site at all times to make sure the bulls are treated properly and are perfectly healthy before, during and after each run. Not enough? We use the same set of bulls at all of our events in each region so they become accustomed to the crowds and the run, reducing any anxiety they may feel. Still want more? All of our events are held on grass or dirt to help prevent the bulls and runners from slipping during the run. Finally, each bull runs the quarter-mile track no more than twice during the event to prevent any risk of overexertion. After the event, the bulls return to their free-range ranch where they relax in open fields. We here at The Great Bull Run are wholly committed to the health and safety of the animals we work with and welcome any constructive comments or suggestions on animal welfare.
Instead of seeing the picture the organizers paint for you of bulls laying in grassy fields, smiling in the sun, envision this: bulls being forcefully loaded onto trucks, moving from city to city and herded into multiple arenas filled with thousands of screaming people. Then, when the race begins, the bulls charge out of the holding area, frightened and distressed. As they hurdle their thousand pound bodies through the crowds, the bulls crash into the barriers, fall and break their legs, or collide with and injure each other.
Not a pretty sight, right? If you’re still not convinced that this is a cruel event, please read this article from president and founder of PETA, Ingrid Newkirk; read this fact sheet about the Running of the Bulls; or watch this video from the League Against Cruel Sports.
We’re asking the Georgia International Horse Park to host an event that would not put the bulls at risk. We suggested something like the New Orleans’ No Bull event, which is where the roller derby team, Big Easy Rollergirls, chases participants through the French Quarter. We also recommended replacing the live bulls with humans in bull costumes for a fun, family-friendly event that does not put animals and humans in harm’s way.
Another very clever event is called Running of the Nudes, which started back in 2002 in protest of the Running of the Bulls. According to Wikipedia:
The Running of the Nudes, like the well-known Running of the Bulls, takes place in Pamplona, Spain. The Running of the Nudes occurs two days before the Running of the Bulls, just before the start of the nine-day festival of San Fermín. The event was created in 2002 and is supported by animal welfare groups, including PETA, who object to the Running of the Bulls, claiming that the event is cruel and glorifies bullfighting, which the groups oppose. In the Running of the Nudes, naked humans, many wearing only plastic horns and red scarves, follow the same route taken by the Running of the Bulls, from the Santo Domingo corrals through the town’s streets, ending at the Plaza de Toros.
Although I’m not planning on stripping down (sorry to disappoint), we are planning several different ways to protest this event. On GARP’s behalf, I’ve already sent an email to the director of the horse park asking them to not hold this event. They wrote back saying they’d “look into [my] concerns and take [my] comments under advisement.” We’re going to send a follow-up email to the director in the next few weeks to see what they’ve decided and to see how we can help. Depending on their response, we’ll plan to circulate a petition, as well as set up an email and phone campaign asking people to contact the director about the Great Bull Run to show the horse park that our community does not support this cruel, unjust event.
The fact that the Great Bull Run is even happening in the U.S. after witnessing the cruelty in Pamplona is complete bull. If you agree and want to take action, here’s how you can do your part in protecting these magnificent creatures.
How You Can Help:
- Don’t participate in the Great Bull Run.
- Pass this information on to friends and family to educate them on the abuse of these bulls.
- Contact me to participate in the email/phone campaign with GARP.
- Sign and distribute the petition.
- If you don’t live in Atlanta, see if they are coming to your city and get involved with your local community to protest the event.