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New York

Wed, 13 Nov 2019 14:29 GMT

Bull Runners Protest that Safety Measures Reduce Thrill of Pamplona


7Dnews London

Fri, 12 Jul 2019 00:48 GMT

The fifth bull run of this year's Sanfermines festival in the Spanish city of Pamplona took place on Thursday July 9th after some veteran bull runners protested that the traditional festivity was in danger of losing its heart-stopping thrills.

Thursday's run, which featured one goring and a handful of hard knocks, was preceded by a protest in which dozens of participants staged a sit-down on the street before the bulls were released.

They argue that this year's bull runs have lacked the usual excitement due to measures such as having trained bullocks running in the herd, having over-sanitised the event.

Runs typically include several larger and faster bullocks to help keep the herd focused on running all the way to the ring, along with the other specially-bred smaller and more aggressive bulls from different breeders each day of the week.

An adhesive substance has also been applied for over a decade to the cobblestoned streets which helps prevent the animals from slipping and getting separated from the pack.

Because the bulls have largely stayed behind the large bullocks in recent days, and the application of the non-slip chemical along the route, protestors complained the event has become too safe and has lost much of its thrill.

Reggie Gooden, a 60-year-old native of New York, said that the bull runs have become increasingly faster but less thrilling over the 30 years he has attended the fiesta. He does not run now due to bad knees, but he told AP that the speed of the bull runs makes it almost impossible for even the most experienced runners to pull off the feat of sprinting just in front of a bull's horns for several metres.

"I came in '89 and '90, and the runs were over four minutes, now they are over two minutes," Gooden said. "What they have done protects the bulls, and it also protects the runners, because nobody is going to get out in front of them now... It is just the evolution of bull running." Thursday's run was the longest of this year's festival so far at 2 minutes, 49 seconds.

However, there are still plenty of injuries reported from Pamplona every single day of the nine-day-long Sanfermines festival, which attracts about 1 million spectators every year.

The Red Cross said a total of seven people needed to be taken to hospital for treatment, along with another 67 people who were attended to by medics on site, during Thursday’s run alone. In previous races, several gorings were reported by Reuters and people could be seen getting trampled after being outrun by the bulls in official pictures.