Spain wants to end the controversial Toro de la Vega bull festival

by Lorraine Williamson
Toro de la Vega

TORDESILLAS – According to the new laws and regulations, there may be animal cruelty during the Toro de la Vega tournament in Tordesillas (Valladolid) which takes place annually in September. That is why the government wants the party to be cancelled. 

The Ministry of Social Rights asked the Public Prosecutor’s Office for measures to block the Toro de la Vega tournament. The event is due to take place on September 13. To this end, State Secretary Lilith Verstrynge submitted a letter to the public prosecutor’s office on Thursday. This letter was also signed by the General Director of the Directorate General for Animal Rights, Sergio García Torres. 

Killing an animal in public is prohibited under current law. And stabbing the animals with an awl is also considered a crime against animal rights. 

The ordinance to which García Torres refers states that “in all popular bullfighting shows, it is forbidden to injure, puncture, beat, detain or otherwise cruelly treat cattle, as well as to kill them in the presence of the audience.” 

New rules are also insufficient 

Tordesillas (Valladolid) City Council approved an amendment to the Toro de la Vega ordinance last January. Consequently, this made it a new tournament with new rules. It was done so that it wouldn’t end with the death of the bull with a spear. This was after the government of Castilla y León already approved a decree in 2016 banning the public killing of fighting livestock during popular festivals. 

The new competition is limited to fifty participants. It consists of placing a badge on the animal’s back using a spear. A maximum of 7 can be placed in case a winner cannot be declared earlier. Despite this, Lilith Verstrynge called it “an extremely serious case of animal cruelty that cannot continue and must be stopped.” 

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“Good time to stop this animal cruelty” 

The Secretary of State indicated that after these years of the pandemic in which the Toro de Vega has not been celebrated, it is a good time to stop this animal cruelty and violation of regulations in this area. “It’s a celebration that shouldn’t take place in the 21st century,” said Verstrynge. She also emphasised that “spears that cause wounds up to twelve centimetres in the animal, which in many cases can even pierce vital organs and thus kill the animal”, are still allowed in the tournament. She advocates festivals with music, dance and sports but without animal cruelty. 

See also: Shocking images of young bulls being tortured in Spain 

Interest in bullfights and village events with the animals is on the wane. This is the conclusion of Spanish media in response to increasingly empty arenas and increasingly higher local subsidies that keep the phenomenon alive. 

Verstrynge said: “Tordesillas is now ruled by PP and Vox, but it doesn’t matter who rules, the reality is that the arenas are empty and we cannot continue to subsidise with public money celebrations that have less and less popular support”. 

See also: Andalucia sub-government wants to protect bullfighting with a special decree 

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