SPAIN – Spain’s “Break A Spear” campaign, led by animal welfare groups Humane Society International/Europe, PartidoAnimalista, and CAS International, presented a petition of 71,000 signatures from citizens opposed to the Toro de la Vega bull fiesta to Pablo Trillo-Figueroa, the Territorial Delegate of Valladolid, Spain.
During the annual Toro de le Vega fiesta in the Castilla y León region of Spain, a bull is chased out of a town and into surrounding countryside by a crowd of people on foot and on horseback, where he is repeatedly stuck with spears before being stabbed to death.
“Break A Spear” (or “Rompe una Lanza”) refers to a medieval tradition of saving someone’s honour. Petition signatories are therefore ‘breaking a spear’ in honour of the bulls, objecting to the cruelty and the special status that the fiesta has been awarded. The Toro de la Vega has been an event of “Regional Tourist Interest” since 1980.
“By signing the petition, tens of thousands of citizens are sending a resounding message to the Spanish authorities that they want the terrible cruelty of the Toro de la Vega to end once and for all,” said Kitty Block, vice president of HSI. “Fiestas should be a celebration, not an appalling spectacle of animal cruelty and we debase ourselves as human beings by portraying it as tourist entertainment. Our petition clearly shows that a growing number of Spanish people reject the idea that animal cruelty in any way represents true Spanish culture, and they break a spear to protect not only the honour of the bulls, but also of Spain, as a country of compassion.”
After the most recent fiesta last September, campaigners with “Break A Spear” submitted a complaint to local authorities that was endorsed by 11 Spanish veterinarians and biologists. The campaigners questioned the manner in which the bull was killed and called for an investigation of those responsible for the killing.
The “Break A Spear” campaign has received high profile support from some of Spain’s foremost celebrities such as writer Rosa Montero, pop group Amaral, comedian Joaquin Reyes and gymnast Gervasio Defer.
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Humane Society International and its partner organizations together constitute one of the world’s largest animal protection organizations — backed by 11 million people. For nearly 20 years, HSI has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty worldwide — On the web at hsi.org.