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Sat Nov 01 06:04:46 SAST 2014

Activists will protest Spanish bull-spearing festival

Sapa-AFP | 08 September, 2012 12:28
Spaniards taunt a bull in a bull run.
Image by: JOSEBA ETXABURU / Reuters

Animal rights activists said they would protest a centuries-old festival in central Spain which a bull is chased and then lanced to death.

Hundreds of people, many on horseback, are expected to mark the Toro de la Vega festival in Tordesillas on Tuesday by chasing a bull into a plain near the town and then throwing lances into the animal until it dies.

The ritual has been held every second Tuesday in September since at least 1453.

Animal rights activists PACMA called on opponents of the tradition to take part in a protest on Sunday in Tordesillas against the festival, which predates the introduction of the classic bullfight at the end of the 17th century.

"It is the cruelest tradition incurred upon an animal in our country," the group said in a statement posted on its website.

"For this reason, Tordesillas has become a symbol of animal cruelty repudiation," it added.

PACMA will rent buses to bring protesters to the demonstration from six cities across Spain, including Barcelona, Bilbao and Madrid, the group added.

Each region of Spain has responsibility for its own animal protection laws, usually with exceptions for bullfighting. The festival in Tordesillas is allowed under the laws of the Castilla y Leon region.

Barcelona's ring held its final bullfight in September last year after the Catalonia region banned bullfighting, the second Spanish region to do so after the Canary Islands.

PACMA describes itself as the Animalist Party on website and says it is the only political party that campaigns for the rights of all animals.

While it has run candidates in elections to both chambers of parliament, it has yet to have any deputies or senators elected.

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