Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Load of Bull?

Ged and I just spent two days in Pamplona, Spain for the San Fermin Festival, which includes the famous Running of the Bulls.  There's also live music in almost every plaza, people of all ages dancing their booties off and beautiful fireworks.

Some people don't get a lot of sleep...

The actual "run" occurs at 8 a.m. every day for a week.  Hundreds of men run half of a mile while six to 12 bulls chase after them and either pass them, hit them or the guys outrun the animals.  Traditionally, the men are supposed to let the bulls pass them in order to become men, because then they can say that they've truly "run with the bulls."

We woke up early Tuesday to watch that morning's run.

Honestly, I wasn't sure what to expect.  What I left feeling, however, was a feeling of shame mixed with disgust.

I don't like to see animals exploited, and that's exactly what I saw Tuesday morning.

I understand that cultures all over the world have their different traditions and rites of passage and that I don't need to like them but respect them, however, what I didn't appreciate was what happened after the running.

Once all the men were in the bull ring and the aggressive bulls were put away, the wranglers let out a baby bull.  All of the men were provoking the animal by pushing it, prodding it and smacking it.  They wanted the animal to chase after them and ram them with its tiny bull horns because they knew it wouldn't hurt.

What was I thinking the entire time I watched this?  I wanted that bull to beat the shit out of those boys.  They may have run with the bulls, but to me they still weren't men.

And thank you, Simon, for posting my pictures on your blog.



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