Pamplona's Running of the Bulls is an antiquated, brutally violent sport. The Bullfight is even worse.

Running Of The Bulls -Pamplona 2014- Bloody Photos Not For The Faint Of Heart

I had the pleasure of visiting Pamplona’s Running of the Bulls, but I wasn’t really prepared for the blood and gore that ensued at the week long festivities.

The Running of the Bulls  isn’t just an opportunity for crazy people to get chased down the street by a posse of 6 REALLY pissed off, 800 pound animals. 

During the annual 9 day celebration of San Fermin,  there is also much debauchery, drinking and dancing in the streets.

Each year, the city of Pamplona attracts an estimated one million revelers, from all over the world who participate in the Running Of the Bulls, and many other activities.

Running Of The Bulls -Pamplona 2014- Bloody PhotosApproximately 20,000 of these partygoers, participate in the bull run, and the majority, are there to celebrate the San Fermin Festival in Pamplona, Spain.

There are fun things for families to do. Big Head Parades, Vaquillas, Matador Lessons, Fireworks Shows, and more. 

Everyone dresses in red and white, sporting a mandatory “Red Kerchief” around their necks.

Running Of The Bulls -Pamplona 2014- Bloody PhotosAll day long, for the entirety of the festival, mucho Sangria is drunk AND deliberately poured, all over a lot of the people.

Many of the revelers end up dressed in PINK, instead of the requisite red and white.

Running Of The Bulls -Pamplona 2014- Bloody Photos

Kids learn to run with the bulls, at an early age.

Running Of The Bulls -Pamplona 2014- Bloody PhotosThey make the bull look so cute, in posters and billboards all over the city. But the bull is a very dangerous mammal, that suffers inordinately, throughout the entire process.

It isn’t just a bunch of bulls, chasing people through the streets of Pamplona. The bulls, who run in the morning, are the ones who are actually being led to the Plaza Del Toros, where they will be faced off against a Matador,one by one,  in a BLOODY BULLFIGHT that same evening. 

Only the lucky ones, come away unscathed from this event. But the bulls rarely, if ever, make it out alive. 

This year, in an ironic twist, Bill Hillman, who is credited for contributing a chapter to the book, “How To Survive The Running Of The Bulls”, was gored in the leg, during one of the runs.

Vicki Winters |

The Spaniards refer to this as “Fine Art”. I call it unnecessary torture of animals.

Running Of The Bulls -Pamplona 2014- Bloody Photos

At first glance, there is a lot of cape waving and tight pants. Then it gets awful.

Running Of The Bulls -Pamplona 2014- Bloody PhotosThe bull is stabbed by both the toreadors AND a man on a blindfolded horse.

Running Of The Bulls -Pamplona 2014- Bloody Photos

These undeniably grotesque abuses, left me in tears as I watched in disgust.

Running Of The Bulls -Pamplona 2014- Bloody Photos

There is a lot more cape waving, a bull starts to die, and you realize that you are witnessing one of the most cruel acts ever.

Vicki Winters |

Running Of The Bulls -Pamplona 2014- Bloody PhotosThere are different types of bullfights, held in stadiums all over the world.  The present day version of Spanish bullfighting is one of the most cruel and gruesome, terminating with the dead bull being dragged around the blood soaked sand by four horses. It’s all too awful.

I had not been aware of the Spanish version of this global tradition, which is over 300 years old, and after I learned the facts, I came away from Pamplona with a  renewed view of animal cruelty.

Running Of The Bulls -Pamplona 2014- Bloody PhotosThe Pamplonians do not look at this killing as a cruel act of murder, but as a fine art, like the ballet.

Yes, the Matador wears sequins, but, rest assured, nothing about this spectacle is pretty…..except perhaps the matador’s tight pants.

Although the gruesome “sport” has been banned in many other cities in Spain, in Pamplona the unfair “fight” still goes on.

I know theses photos are tough to look at. I couldn’t watch the bullfight myself. My husband took these photos, as I cringed in horror.

I found myself rooting for the poor bull, but he didn’t have a chance.

A few years ago, a matador was gored in the eye. He had the balls to come back and fight this year…with his one good eye. No sympathy here.

Running Of The Bulls -Pamplona 2014- Bloody PhotosAdding to the horror show, the poor bull is dragged off, and paraded around the ring, in front of a cheering crowd.

A few choice words describe how I felt about the bullfight in Pamplona:

Grisly, ghastly, frightful, horrid, horrifying, hideous, horrible, horrendous, grim, awful, dire, dreadful, terrible, horrific, shocking, appalling, disgusting, repulsive,repugnant, revolting, repellent, sickening; loathsome, abhorrent, odious, monstrous, unspeakable; gross.

I’m just saying.

If you can take some more…..watch my video of the event here

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