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Toro de la Vega: bull killed within 24 hours

Tuesday, May 31st 2016

Toro de la Vega Toro de la Vega © PACMA

The government of the autonomous community Castile and León has decided to prohibit the public death of the bull during Toro de la Vega in Tordesillas. This is a step in the right direction, but the decision leaves us with many unanswered questions about the actual occurrences in the event in the future. CAS International has read the decree and listened to the opinions of several experts. In this article you can read the position of CAS about the decision of the government of Castile and León.

Regulation
In the past, during Toro de la Vega, a bull was killed with lances by hundreds of men on horses and by foot. De government of Castile and León has decided to forbid the death of the bull in public during traditional feasts with bulls in the whole state. In Castile and León there actually is only one festivity during which the bull is killed: Toro de la Vega. However, the law of Castile and León dictates that all bulls used in events must be killed within 24 hours after its use. This means that the bull will no longer be killed in public, but later, out of the audience’s sight.

Furthermore, the old regulation dating from 1999 states that it is allowed to inflict actions on the bull that are inherent to the celebration of the traditional spectacle. This means that the use of lances on the animal was permitted. This sentence has now been removed in the decree. We do not know how to interpret this. In the decree it is not stated explicitly that it is forbidden to injure the animal with lances. According to a spokesman of the government of Castile and León it will no longer be allowed to use the lances, but this is not made explicit in the decree.

Protest Toro de la Vega Volunteers of CAS in Tordesillas © Javier Babuglia

Position CAS
We have consulted the opinion of several experts on animal welfare and legislation. CAS shares the opinion of AVATMA (founded partly by CAS), a group of veterinaries that want to put an end to bullfighting and cruel feasts with bulls. At this moment we have more questions than answers:

  • Is it allowed to use lances?
  • Is it allowed to injure the animal?
  • Which actions are forbidden in presence of the public?
  • Is it possible to change the regulations of Toro de la Vega to use lances and, after the event, to kill the animal out of sight of the public?
In case it is no longer allowed to use lances, and the animal will not be injured, then we can state the government has set a step on the right direction. But this does not mean the end of the suffering of the animal. The bull will experience stress during the event, and the transport to the event. He will also be in physical pain: the animal’s physical condition is not good suitable for running. During this event the bull has to run and will, therefore, experience unbearable pain. 

And after the event the bull will be killed anyway, out of sight of the public. It is a positive development that the government of Castile and León recognizes that there is no room in modern Spanish society for this type of cruel feasts, and that it is needed to adapt it. But, as long as the animal keeps suffering, we will continue with our battle.

Many long years of campaigning

CAS in Madrid
CAS protesting in Madrid in 2015 © CAS International

Toro de la Vega is one of the most important campaigns of CAS International in the last 10 years. Since 2007 we have worked with PACMA, and later also with HSI, in the campaign ‘Rompe una lanza’ (break a lance) to get this event forbiden by annually lobbying and protesting in Tordesillas, Valladolid and Madrid. CAS International has spend thousands of euros in this campaign yearly. We also travelled many times to spain with volunteers from the Netherlands and Belgium to show that not only many Spaniards, but also many Europeans do not longer accept this animal abuse. Thanks to our campaign the protests became every year bigger, with more organizations and individuals. In September 2015 100,000 people joined the protest in Madrid!

In September 2015, CAS International travelled with Karen Soeters, founder of the Dutch website about animals and nature PiepVandaag.nl, to Tordesillas to film the event undercover. Bull Rompesuelas died a terrible death that day. Unfortunately we were not able to save Rompesuelas, but a lot of people could see the documentary PiepVandaag made: 


We do not know what will happen during Toro de la Vega this year. But we are sure that the bull will keep suffering. We will continue our battle until no more bulls are used in Spain and the other bullfighting countries to entertain people during cruel spectacles.


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