We document the anguish of 12 bulls roped in the Teruel traditions

AnimaNaturalis and CAS International witnessed in Teruel 12 bulls forced to run in suffocating heat to close La Vaquilla 2023. Tied by the head, the animals stumbled several times on the garbage-filled asphalt and had to endure constant abuse from the public.

18 julio 2023
Teruel, España.

The modality of the tethered bull is still celebrated in nearly 100 Spanish municipalities and has special roots in the Basque Country and Aragon. It is one of the cruelest forms of events with bulls, which can cause the animal more anguish and in which its movements are more limited for a longer time.

AnimaNaturalis and CAS International documented last Monday in the Teruel capital how 12 bulls, and at least 5 heifers, were harassed between the plaza and the streets of the historic center. Approximately one animal tormented every hour served as entertainment for hundreds of spectators from 5 in the morning and with hardly any rest until night. 

The "roped bulls" are exposed to significant psychological suffering, they exhaust themselves quickly because they are not used to making physical efforts of this caliber and they can be seen panting and with their tongues hanging out a few minutes after leaving the box. 

Disregarding the animal's signs of stress, the party goes on while the fans urge it to keep running, throw shirts or flags at its face and receive provocative tail pulls. During the morning running of the bulls, at least one bull failed to finish and had to be towed to the pens in a box. This had a bloody mouth and had hit several times against street furniture.

While in Catalonia this modality is carried out with two ropes that control the movements of the bull in front and behind, the Aragon regulations contemplate the dangerous peculiarity of releasing one of the ropes after a first section. The horn continues to be jerked, which leads it to shake its head abruptly and sometimes it is violently grabbed, which can also cause serious injuries to people.

The sixth of the 8 bulls roped in the afternoon starred in one of the most significant accidents, brutally running over a woman from behind. The animal picked up speed down a wide street trying to escape the noisy crowd.  

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