Forgotten casualties of Running of the Bulls

Tourists from Australia and around the world flock to Spain each year for the 'Running of the Bulls' — but how many Aussies are truly aware of the terror and suffering that awaits the animals at the end of the run?

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LAST UPDATED: 10 July 2015

The San Fermín festival has got everything any celebration needs — packed streets, flowing wine, parades and festive music. But there's a dark side to this 'party'. When it's over, forty-eight of its most famous guests will be dead.

Tens of thousands of people flock to Pamplona each year for the festival, made famous for the 'Running of the Bulls', where daring participants run through the cobblestone streets of the city, in front of a small group of bulls.

No fun run: the run itself can be terrifying for the animals who are shocked with cattle prods, hit with rolled up newspapers and sticks, and surrounded by cheering crowds.

It's seen as a great opportunity by some not-entirely-wise people to show off their 'bravado' by participating in the run. But while it's risky business for human participants — it's deadly for the animals.

For those unwilling participants — 48 bulls — the run ends in a bullring, where they were killed in a very bloody one-sided 'fight'. Each bull is speared by men on horseback and may even have his neck muscles cut to weaken him. The sad spectacle ends when his spinal cord is cut, and he is dragged from the ring by his horns.

It's a picture that would make most of us recoil in horror. Yet every year Australians are among those who travel from around the world to support and celebrate the run — many unaware of the horror that awaits bulls at the end.

There's no glory or bravery in deliberately abusing animals. Cultures the world over are realising this and that custom is no excuse for cruelty. In fact polls have found that most Spaniards have no interest in bullfighting. So if you agree that entertainment stops when cruelty begins, please never support the 'Running of the Bulls', and tell your friends and family why you'd rather plan a holiday that is kind to animals.

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Get your travel and your adrenalin rush - minus the bull!

Move over, Pamplona — our votes are going to the Spanish town Mataelpino who have come up with a way for adrenalin junkies to get their kicks without hurting a single animal! Discover their inventive solution to being kind to animals, while keeping the 'tradition' going.

If you've got the travel-bug — but want to see our beautiful world without unwittingly harming animals — check out these tips for travelling kindly!

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