Spanish region bans public killing of ‘El Toro de la Vega’

HSI/Europe welcomed decree, but calls for a complete end to cruel fiestas

Humane Society International

  • A bull about to be stabbed to death at the 2010 Toro de la Vega event. PACMA/CAS International

Update, December 15, 2016: The Spanish Constitutional Court unanimously confirmed the prohibition of the public killing of El Toro de la Vega (and all bulls used fiestas apart bullfights). The Court rejected the City Council’s challenge of the ban on the basis that the Region had allegedly exceeded its powers and overstepped the City Council’s competences.

The Regional Assembly of Castilla y León has approved a decree that will prohibit the public killing of the bull used in the Toro de la Vega fiesta in Tordesillas, Spain. This event traditionally involves men with spears on horseback who chase and stab a bull until he is completely exhausted and stabbed to death.

Humane Society International/Europe Executive Director Joanna Swabe issued the following statement:

“While we welcome the revision of the regional regulation for bull fiestas, which prevents the killing of the bull as a public spectacle, the fact remains that this is a cosmetic change. The unfortunate animal will still endure terrible suffering and stress due to being taunted and chased by spear-wielding men on horseback. We urge Spanish politicians to end all such fiestas involving cruelty and suffering to sentient animals.”

An Ipsos MORI online opinion poll commissioned by HSI in 2014 showed that almost three quarters (74 per cent) of Spanish citizens aged 16 to 65 opposed the Toro de la Vega bull fiesta. 

The Toro de la Vega is one example of the thousands of fiestas taking place in Spain every year which see suffering and distress inflicted on bulls. Many of these fiestas are partly or wholly funded by public subsidies, but as the 2014 poll clearly showed, seven in 10 (71 per cent) Spanish citizens do not think public funds should be used to support bull fiestas.

Ask Spanish Politicians: Ban cruel bull fiestas.


  • The Toro de la Vega fiesta takes place in Tordesillas, in the Castilla y León region of Spain, each September.
  • During the event, spear-wielding men on horseback chase a bull out of the town and into the surrounding countryside.  Pursued and stuck with spears until he is cornered, the bull is then stabbed to death.
  • In May 2011, local politicians voted to classify this event, along with bullfighting, as cultural heritage.
  • For many years, HSI has worked with PACMA in Spain and CAS International to bring an end to cruel bull fiestas, such as the Toro de la Vega, through the ‘Break a Spear’ initiative.

Media contact: Raúl Arce-Contreras,, +1 301-721-6440