Tordesillas (Valladolid, Spain)
The festivity of Toro de la Vega takes place in Tordesillas (Valladolid, Spain) the second Tuesday in September and is part of the celebrations made in honor of the Virgen de la Peña.
This “event” is the unequal struggle between a bull and hundreds of people horseback riding and armed with spears. For about an hour the bull desperately seeks to run, but hundreds of spearmen prevent him from doing so and guide him to an specific area of Vega (hence its name), where he is cornered and killed with spears. Most of the time he is so exhausted and tired by his multiple wounds so he accepts his fate with resignation, as in 2011, when Afligido (name of the bull), totally dejected and exhausted, sat at the foot of a tree where he was speared to death. While dying, the bull was topped by a man even using a screwdriver. El apostillado, a way of killing the bull which is forbidden in slaughterhouses because of its extreme cruelty consist of dividing with a knife the back of the brain where the neurological centers for breathing and pulse are, so that the animal dies of cardiac arrest after a painful agony is often used in Tordesillas.
The Board of theTournament and the city of Tordesillas, provides in its rules a remote possibility of pardon but only if the bull is out of the limits set by the organization. This possibility is so remote that since 1970, when it reauthorized the tournament, after some years of prohibition, only two bulls were pardoned. In fact this “rule” is subject to the discretion of individual participants that violate it according to their convenience and interests. Without going any further, the September 11, 2012 the bull was speared and killed outside the set limits.
Actually this is a collective lynching in which the bull has virtually no possibility escape and where he is subjected to terrible suffering and prolonged agony. Aware of the merciless and brutal of this show, the inhabitants of Tordesillas oppose the shooting of the final moment in the life of the bull, both by activists as public or private televisions, sometimes violently. Currently the only images that exist at the time of the bulls death are due to animal rights activists infiltrate among participants in order to publicize the cruelty of this show.
Despite the growing opposition manifested in protests and criticism of all kinds, both nationally and internationally, the tournament continues to be held with the approval of the two major parties of our country, the PP governing the Junta de Castilla y León and continues not only allowing but supporting this conclusion, and the PSOE having right now mayor of Tordesillas. In an unfortunate exercise in cynicism, most politicians publicly declare one hand, the sadistic and brutal character of this show, while on the other do absolutely nothing to prevent it.