A bull drowned on Monday during the controversial bull running events of the Bous a la Mar festival in the seaside town of Denia, Spain. People drove the animal into the water, and the bull couldn’t keep his head above water long enough to reach land.
Since 1993, the Bous a la Mar festival has been a national tourist festival. Denia’s city council views the bull running events held twice a day as one of the most critical traditions of the annual festival.
Hundreds of people gather in the square near Denia’s harbor. Bulls are released into the streets of Denia and guided toward the city’s harbor square. When they reach the square, bulls are provoked, which sometimes causes them to jump into the sea. The sole reason for triggering the bulls is human entertainment.
The organization said it has specially designated boats with volunteers aiming to prevent animal fatalities, but they were not able to rescue the bull on Monday.
Following the confirmation of the animal’s death, the Bous a la Mar session was immediately suspended. The evening session, however, proceeded as planned, with humans running after bulls near the water.
For years, animal protection organizations have argued that it is cruel to the bulls and causes them unnecessary suffering.
“In Bous a la Mar, the physical health of the animals is endangered, allowing the participants to provoke the bulls to fall into the water,” Spanish animal welfare organization Anima Naturalis said, asking the Denia government “to put an end to this cruel spectacle, in which a bull drowned.”
⚠️ URGENTE | Pedimos al @ayto_denia que ponga fin a este cruel espectáculo, en el que ayer murió un toro ahogado.— AnimaNaturalis (@AnimaNaturalis) July 11, 2023
❌ En los 'bous a la mar' se pone en peligro la integridad física de los animales, permitiendo que los participantes inciten a los toros para que caigan al agua. pic.twitter.com/v4vUNp66qM