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Home / Bull with burning horns collapses during Spanish medieval festival

Bull with burning horns collapses during Spanish medieval festival


At the controversial fire bull festival ‘Toro Jubilo’ in Medinaceli, Spain, a bull with burning horns collapsed as the animal could not properly support the wooden construction on its horns. CAS International and AnimaNaturalis filmed the event. The Medinaceli fire bull is one of bull festivals that evoke the most outrage nationally and internationally.

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Bull with burning horns collapses during Spanish medieval festival | Picture: CAS & AnimaNaturalis

On Saturday night, 11 November, the of medieval origin Toro Jubilo took place again in Medinaceli (population 721). This is an extremely cruel event involving a bull, where around midnight the bull’s horns are covered with a flammable substance and then set on fire. The way the event takes place has hardly changed since the Middle Ages.

Too heavy

Ever since the bull festival started, it was clear that something was wrong with the bull. He walked with a crooked head, presumably due to the weight of the wooden construction with inflammable  material attached to his horns. In addition, it took 11 minutes before the organizers of the event managed to light the material. All this time, the bull was tied to a pole. Then the bull collapsed several times due to the weight of the wooden construction. The bull suffered repeated blows so that it got back up and the event could continue.

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Picture: CAS & AnimaNaturalis

Impact burning horns

According to vets, the fire has a major impact on the bull. Constant exposure to the fire causes him to lose his sight. The fear, stress and running around can cause muscle exhaustion, difficulty breathing and cardiac arrhythmias. In Castile and León, most bulls are killed in the slaughterhouse after a bull festival. In Medinaceli, there is a municipal exception, which means the bull is not killed after the firing event and goes back to the breeder. Maite van Gerwen, director of CAS, said:

“The shocking thing is that all of Saturday’s events went according to official regulations. So for this kind of fiesta, even regulations state that this animal cruelty is legal and thus may be carried out during the fiesta.”

Fire bulls take place not only in Medinaceli but also elsewhere in Spain. Around 2,500 fire bull festivals also take place every year in Catalonia and the state of Valencia.

Bull festivals

Some 18,000 bull festivals take place in Spain every year. According to research by CAS and AnimaNaturalis, Spanish municipalities spend 42 million euros on subsidies for these events. The majority of Spaniards oppose such events with bulls because they consider them controversial.

Read more about our research at www.bloodfiestas.org

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