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Home / CAS presents results of investigation of cruel bull fiestas

CAS presents results of investigation of cruel bull fiestas


During three years, CAS International and AnimaNaturalis conducted the largest research ever on cruel bull fiestas in Spain. At least 42 million of public money is spent annually by 1820 municipalities to hold bull festivals. In total, nearly 18,000 popular festivals involving bulls, cows and calves take place every year.


CAS presents results of investigation of cruel bull fiestas| Picture: CAS/AnimaNaturalis

22% Spanish municipalities

The research began by consulting the festival programs of the more than 8,000 municipalities in Spain. With this information we could conclude that 1820 municipalities organize one or more bull festivals per year; that is 22% of all Spanish municipalities. Some municipalities hold bull festivals several times a year.

Then, based on the Spanish Law of Transparency, we requested information from municipalities that hold bull festivals about the subsidies they spent on them in 2019. Only 46.8 percent of these municipalities shared municipal spending with us. Based on this, we estimated that Spanish municipalities spend at least 42 million of public money annually on cruel festivals with bulls, cows and calves.


Bull on rope, Teruel , 2023| Picture: CAS/AnimaNaturalis

17,708 bull festivals

Our research shows that no less than 17,708 bull festivals have been held in 2019. Most of them take place in the autonomous region of Valencia: 8,623 in total. Half of all municipalities in Valencia organize these fiestas (in the province of Castellón even 94% of all municipalities). Valencian municipalities spend 17 million in public money for bull fiestas. After the region of Valencia, the most bull festivals take place in Castile and Leon (1,946) and Castile-La Mancha (1,250). These three autonomous regions provide the most subsidies for bull festivals.

Bous a la Mar

Bous a la Mar, Dénia, 2023 | Picture: CAS/AnimaNaturalis

More bull fiestas than bullfights

Annually, 37 times more bull festivals than Spanish-style bullfights take place, in which a bullfighter abuses and kills a bull with various instruments. In 2022, 436 such bullfights were held. There are other types of bullfights – such as bullfights with younger bulls, bullfighters on horseback, etc. In total, 1,622 ‘spectacles’ with cattle are held in Spain in bullfighting arenas. Maite van Gerwen, CAS director:

“The investigation shows that the numbers of cruel bull fiestas and the numbers of animals abused in them are still many times higher than the number of bullfights and animals that die in them. Moreover, the animals used for fiestas are used multiple times and have to go through this suffering time after time. It’s actually worse than we thought.”

Bullfight © CAS international

Data from Ministry of Culture not correct

Thanks to our research, we discovered that the data provided by Spanish Ministry of Culture is not always correct and is a great underestimation of reality. For example, the Ministry indicates that 66 popular festivals with bulls took place in Catalonia in 2019. However, according to the Catalan government, the total was 450. In Galicia, according to the ministry, only one bull fiesta took place, while in reality there were 19 fiestas. And in Aragon, the Ministry of Culture reported 1,079 bull fiestas, while we counted 1,871.

Animal suffering

According to our research, more than 30,000 bulls, cows and calves are used for bull fiestas every year. It is difficult to figure out the exact number because animals are often reused – sometimes dozens of times. At least we know that over 57,000 cattle were used for cruel popular festivals in 2019.

Furthermore, we now know that the animals are used for fiestas during different phases of their lives. After each event they go back to the breeder. When they are no longer considered good enough for the fiestas, they go to the slaughterhouse. The lives of these animals are characterized by a series of moments of intense stress and suffering. In addition, during our research, we found that accidents, abuses and events that do not comply with the regulations, regularly occur during these events.

Toro Jubilo

Fire bull Toro Jubilo 2022 | © Aitor Garmendia / CAS International /AnimaNaturalis

Types of bull festivals

Thanks to our research, we have a better idea of the different types of bull festivals in Spain:

  • Bull runs in the streets (as in Pamplona)
  • Fire bulls (toros embolados)
  • Bulls in the sea (bous a la mar) in which cattle are forced to jump into the sea
  • Bulls on ropes (toro de cuerda, ensogados), bulls tied to a rope and chased through the streets by a crowd of people
  • Bulls in a bullring, with the public hanging around the bull and running after it

There are also bull festivals where vehicles are used, such as cars and vans. Or bull runs with horses. In any case, there are many variations of these popular festivals with cattle.


During our research we documented several bull festivals. In doing so, we frequently encountered abuses. Below some examples:

Drowned bull Dénia

On July 10 2023, a bull drowns during the bull festival Bous a la Mar (bull in the sea) in Dénia, Valencia autonomous region. The animal was forced to jump into the sea by the crowd. CAS and AnimaNaturalis filed charges against the organizers of the event.

Bull drowns during bull festival in Dénia, Spain

Minors at fire bull in Náquera, Valencia

Two children aged 9 and 10 participated in a festival of fire bulls in the autonomous region of Valencia. They helped set the horns of a bull on fire. We filed a report against this. As a result, the festival organizers and the children’s parents were fined – 6,000 and 3,000 euros per parent, respectively. In fact, participation of minors under 16 in bull festivals is prohibited in Valencia.

Fine for children’s participation in festival with fire bull

Bull collapses during fire bull event

At the controversial fire bull festival “Toro Jubilo” in Medinaceli, a fire bull collapsed from exhaustion. From start to finish, the event lasted 48 minutes. The same night, the bull died of a brain hemorrhage, possibly after colliding with an ox when the animals were running. In addition, the animal emerged from its enclosure with a bloodied mouth. It is illegal to hit or injure the animal.  We took undercover footage and documented various abuses. We also filed charges against the organizers and the authorities.

Fire bull collapses from exhaustion in Medinaceli, Spain

Bull falls 15 meters into the depths

In Ontinyent (Valencia) on April 29 2023, a bull was killed after a serious fall. The animal, named Vicioso, fell on a riverbed during a bull festival, 15 meters into the depths. We filed charges against the organizers of the bull festival: the accident could have been prevented.

CAS reports death of bull after 15-meter fall

Documentation not in order

A report filed by CAS and AnimaNaturalis led to a sanction being imposed on the municipality of l’Aldea (Catalonia). The amount has yet to be determined. We filed a file for the use of an animal that did not comply with the regulations on bull festivals of the state. This is a serious offense.

Sanction for Catalan municipality after CAS report

Human injuries and deaths

It is striking how many minors participate in the bull fiestas. This while the United Nations has asked Spain to keep minors away from the violence of bullfighting and bull festivals. This summer, several youngsters ended up in Intensive Care after being taken on the horns by a bull.

Bull fiesta with minors, 2023 | Picture: CAS/AnimaNaturalis

Every year, many deaths and injuries occur during bullfights. In 2022, 23 people died because of bull festivals. This year there have been deaths again, including a 74-year-old woman in Almàssera (Valencia) after colliding with a bull in the street. The animal had escaped from a bull fiesta from another municipality. In addition, hundreds of people are injured every year. And bulls die from heat stress, exhaustion, accidents, etc.

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