Diary of a PETA Photographer – Pamplona 2011
After attending PETA’s and AnimaNaturalis‘ joint anti-bullfighting demonstration at this time last year in Pamplona, Spain, I came back vowing to do everything I could to get this deplorable blood sport banned.
To that end, I’ve been working to rally the support of thousands of compassionate people all around the world, asking them to speak out against bullfighting via our online action alert. So you can imagine my joy when – just a few weeks after the demonstration last year and following years of campaigning, demonstrations and online advocacies by animal rights groups across Spain, Europe and other countries worldwide – Catalonia voted to ban bullfighting in the entire region. This momentous victory demonstrates what we can achieve when we stand up for what’s right, and it puts us one step closer to the day when the last matador is made to hang up his suit of lights once and for all.
This is my fifth year attending a demonstration in Pamplona. Each time I arrive, I’m greeted by old friends and sometimes hundreds or even more than a thousand like-minded activists all set on one clear goal: to put an end to the slaughter of bulls for entertainment. This year’s stunning demonstration featured more than 100 activists from around the globe who lay down in the shape of a giant bull in front of the mayor’s office.
While the annual Running of the Bulls is a horrific event that always results in the torment, torture and death of bulls, it can also be fatal for spectators. Prior to the event, the bulls are kept in crowded, dark enclosures. When they are finally prodded into the streets with electric shocks, they are momentarily blinded by the sunlight. During the event, participants hit the terrified bulls with rolled up newspapers. Because the turns in the route are quite sharp, many animals lose their footing, break bones and injure themselves. All the bulls who slip and slide on the streets of Pamplona are running towards a bloody and horrific death in the bullring.
Opposition to bullfighting is mounting. According to a 2009 survey, 76 per cent of Spaniards showed no interest in attending or supporting bullfights.
And now it is once again time for me to leave. I leave heavy hearted for the continued suffering of bulls, enlightened by my peers, amazed at the ability of the groups involved to come together to tell the world about the cruelty of bull runs and bullfighting and empowered once again to work even harder to fight this cruelty.