A fighting bull killed itself Wednesday in Foios — a small town in Valencia, Spain — after event organizers purposefully set its horns set on fire with torches, according to the Independent. The fire on its horns spooked the bull and caused it to run head-first into a wooden pole, instantly killing the animal.
The incident occurred at the Bulls in the Street festival, a version of the Running of the Bulls festival in Pamplona, Spain. The bull was originally tied to the wooden pole, but it was released before moving around erratically and slamming its head into the post, which proved fatal.
The crowd’s initial excitement in the video footage quickly faded as audience members realized something had gone awry.
Video of the bull’s death has circulated the internet after it was posted by Bull Defenders United (BDU). BDU is an international page dedicated to raising awareness around bull fighting and claims the practice is “animal abuse.”
BDU claimed to have obtained the video from a Spanish Activist. In a post that included a screen grab of the video footage, the social awareness group urged viewers to “keep on testifying to denunciate those cruelties.”
“Dramatic scene yesterday in Foios, Valencia (Spain) during a Toro Embolado (Burning of the Bulls),” Bulls Defenders United wrote on Facebook. “A bull despairs with the fire on its horns and crashes against the trunk in which it was tied. How many lives will be taken in the name of traditions that are nothing but barbarity?”
Viewers of the footage denounced what many described as a “disgusting” tradition.
“Cannot believe that this appalling cruelty continues in a ‘civilised’ country like Spain. Doesn’t this country have animal cruelty laws?” one commenter wrote.
The video footage was originally published to BDU’s Facebook page July 23. It has been shared widely within international media markets, including France and the United Kingdom, among other overseas territories. The video has received over 240,000 views on BDU’s page with 2,500 reactions and over 4,800 shares to date.
USA Today reported that bullfighting’s origins trace back to 711 A.D. in Spain, with the first event being held in honor of King Alfonso VIII. Spanish towns have faced criticism for maintaining the controversial tradition, which has increased the number of bull deaths annually. The bloody tradition has caused tension in Spain, ultimately dividing supporters and protesters on the issue.
Pamplona’s Mayor Joseba Asirón spoke in opposition to the practice with local news reporters following a protest of the San Fermín festival, according to PETA.
He described the controversy around the practice as “a debate that sooner or later we will have to put on the table. For a very simple reason, and that is that basing the festival on the suffering of a living being, in the 21st century, is something that, at best, we have to rethink.”