Thursday, July 8, 2010


PAMPLONA (AP) - Thousands of daredevils dashed through the narrow streets of Pamplona’s historic old quarter on Wednesday for a goring-free first bull run of this year’s San Fermin fiesta that unofficially ushers in Spain’s summer party season lasting through August. The thrillseekers raced to keep ahead of six fighting bulls and six bell-tinkling steers tasked with trying to keep the beasts together along the 930-yard course from a holding pen to the northern city’s bull ring. Several runners were knocked to the ground and some were trampled on by the animals weighing more than 1,100 pounds but there were no gorings or life-threatening injuries. An 18-year-old man from Melbourne, Australia, suffered an eye injury and a 20-year old Spaniard suffered multiple contusions, the government of Navarra state said on its website. Both were hospitalized under observation but their injuries were not considered serious. The statement identified them only by their initials. The 8 a.m. run is the highlight of the nine-day street drinking festival, and comes after a full day and night of hard partying.

Dozens of runners, dressed in the festival’s traditional white shirts and pants with red sashes, sang a chant to a statue of San Fermin at the start of the route seconds before a firecracker rocket blast signaled the release of the bulls from the pen. The run, broadcast live on national television, lasted 2 minutes and 45 seconds, a relatively fast sprint that saw the bulls staying together and paying little attention to the runners. After the run, people packed the bull ring to chase and taunt young calves while others resumed partying around the town, swilling beer, sangria and wine on the streets and in packed bars. The festival features eight bull runs in total. The bulls that ran in the morning will be killed in the evening in the bull ring, and their meat gets served up in Pamplona’s restaurants.

I have great respect for Spain and its culture, but even long held customs must give way to human evolution. Fighting animals for sport or forcing frightened animals to run through streets filled with cheering, running, jostling men, it is not a sane "tradition" but a cruel one. Surely there must be another way for men to prove to the world that they are "men".

Ramesvara: ... Even today, actually, all the entertainment in America and the Western world is based on violence. They have bull fighting. They want to see the bull tortured and killed. And they have chicken fighting and they have...
Prabhupada: Dog fighting.
Ramesvara: And even the most popular sport in America now is football. It is more popular than baseball, and it's based on men jumping on each other. While one team is carrying the ball, every... A very violent sport.
Hari-sauri: And boxing also. So many different sports.
Ramesvara: They are fascinated by pain and fighting.
Prabhupada: Torture. They like to see that somebody is tortured by another.

Śrīla A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda :
“Room Conversation”
January 21, 1977, Bhubaneswar
Conversations - 770121r3.bhu
Complete Works of Srila Prabhupada

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