THE tragic case of a bull that escaped from the bullring in Algemesi (Valencia) two years ago and was shot dead by the Local Police has been closed this week with a €3,000 fine.
In September 2019, during the last bullfighting event that has taken place in the town since the arrival of COVID, one of the bulls manged to open the gate connecting the ring with the bullpen.
It then escaped from the pen and ran amok around the town, goring one man who ended up in hospital with three broken vertebrae in his back and leaving another two people injured as they tried to jump out of the animal’s way.
Several attempts by the police to corner the bull and take it back safely to the pen failed, as the animal managed to flee the town and reach the Magre riverbed.
Once there, it was shot dead with more than 20 gunshots fired by the Local Police.
The Town Hall defended the action taken by the officers, highlighting the urgency of the situation and pointing out that the force is not equipped with special bullets for this kind of occasion, meaning several shots with the regulation weapons were required to floor a bull weighing several hundred kilos.
However, the incident caused outcry throughout the Valencia region and Spain as a whole – particularly among animal welfare associations, who described it as ‘barbaric’.
Finally, this week a court ruled against Algemesi Bullfighting Commission, who admitted that the animal escaped due to a safety fault and accepted a fine of €6,000, which was reduced to half due to immediate payment.
The National Association for the Protection and Welfare of Animals, who took the case to court, have expressed their partial satisfaction with the result but have called for the use of tranquiliser darts during bull-running and other events to prevent this kind of situation from happening again.
But the association goes even further, insisting that ‘it is time to stop using animals for our enjoyment’, calling for an end to bull-based festivities throughout the country and the relocation of animals to nature reserves where they can be admired as part of the ‘growing trend in ecological tourism’.
This week’s court ruling does not, however, threaten the future celebration of bullfights or bull-running events in the area, which are expected to return next year, COVID permitting.