'CRUELTY IS NO FIESTA'
PROTESTERS targeted Costa Blanca tourists in a demonstration calling for the end of the cruelty of using animals as ‘entertainment’ in fiestas.
A group of more than 100 animal lovers gathered in Dénia on Sunday demanding the town hall end the annual festival of bull running and ‘Bous al Mar’ – where the animals are enticed to charge into the sea.
The ‘fiesta’ is a huge attraction for visitors and the aim of the protest was to underline the stress and harm caused to the bulls and all animals forced to take part in Spanish festivals.
It was organised by the charity ERA – supported by PACMA, the Spanish political party campaigning for animal rights – and took place in the Marqués de Campo, Dénia’s main street.
Jacky Hazeleger, who runs the Tanamera dog refuge in Jávea, and Claire Wall, owner of Bar Punch in the Marina Alta town and an animal rights activist, both joined the demonstration.
“It was organised by ERA and one of a number of protests staged in Dénia each year,” said Jacky. “The organisers feel by focussing on just one place, the town hall will eventually say ‘we must stop this’ and other towns will follow, ending the use of animals in festivals.
“Obviously it targets tourists who go to events such as Bous al Mar, which is advertised as an attraction for visitors, but it is about highlighting cruelty to animals in general.”
She said the demonstrators were a mix of Spanish and expats. “But we always need more support.”
For Claire it was an emotional event and included a bull fight re-enactment to illustrate what the animals suffered in the ring.
“There was a lot more Spanish people involved this year and included an older Spanish man; he really made an impact because he is of a generation you might think would be in support of the tradition of bull fighting,” she said.
“And there was an explanation of what happens to bulls during the running; it is just awful and against the animals’ natural instincts – the tourists who support these events have no idea what the bulls go through before and afterwards and how much they actually suffer.
“The message was read out in English so visitors are left in no doubt what goes on; stressing animals are not for our enter- tainment and the cruelty involved in these events.”
Orba residents beg mayor to stop cruetly
A campaign has been started by inhabitants of Orba to ban the running of the 'toro embalado' (bulls with fire in their horns). Being one of the last villages in the province left who still let the occurrence happen, residents are asking each other to email the mayor in a bid to have the event halted permanently.
The fire is constructed of metal extensions which are added to bull’s horns, with a silent type of firework which is then set alight.
The request coincides with the death of a terrified bull in the small town of Foios near Valencia last week, which, after having had fire put on its horns, rammed itself into a wooden post, resulting in its death.
Residents are being asked to email the mayor, Ignasi Arbona, at firstname.lastname@example.org to voice their concerns.
Many other villages and towns have now banned the practice,