The old Spanish festival ends without gore, but the bull still dies

TORDESILLAS, Spain (AP) — Hundreds of people took part in a centuries-old Spanish bull-hunting festival on Tuesday, but under orders once again that the animal — which is ultimately killed anyway — should not not be injured with spears or darts.

The Toro de La Vega (The Bull in the Meadow) festival in the north-central town of Tordesillas has traditionally seen the bull speared to death by revelers who chased it from town to outlying fields on horseback or on foot in front of thousands of spectators, in what was one of the bloodiest spectacles in Spain.

Organizers say the tradition dates back to the 14th century.

Animal rights protests over the years have led to changes to the show and in 2016 it was banned from killing the bull in public during the festival – although killing the animal is still permitted out of public view thereafter. That year saw scuffles between animal rights activists and locals.

After a two-year hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic, the city attempted to allow darts to be thrown at the bull this year, but the government and animal rights groups intervened.

The city has long accused animal rights activists, the media and outsiders of meddling in an event that is part of their local culture.

Tuesday’s Toro de La Vega festival took place with significantly reduced crowds. The rules were followed, there were no fights with the militants, and the bull was quietly killed after the event – ​​its flesh being sold as choice beef.

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