Co Down woman protests against Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain

A Co Down woman has held a protest against the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain, as she hopes to "open people's eyes" to the "cruel" event.

Lucy Watson, from Moira, took part in a protest in the Spanish town where animal rights campaigners shackled themselves in medieval torture devices in an effort to highlight the pain and suffering of the bulls involved in the world famous event which forms part of the Festival of San Fermin.

The 25-year-old former Wallace High School pupil joined demonstrators from animal protection groups PETA and AnimaNaturalis who also walked part of the route that the bulls are forced to run.

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She said: “Many people who travel to Pamplona to run with the bulls have no idea that they’re participating in an event that celebrates the torture and death of these animals – and if they did, they’d likely run the other way.

“I took part in this protest to open people’s eyes to the reality of this cruel, archaic event and to call for it to be stopped.”

“The Running of the Bulls and the subsequent bullfights are public executions, only instead of humans being killed, it’s bulls. The animals are chased through the streets by mobs who hit and shout at them and then forced into an arena, where crowds applaud every time they’re stabbed and laugh at their fear and desperation. I joined other PETA supporters and animal activists from Spain and elsewhere in this protest to draw attention to this barbaric abuse of living, feeling beings – which must be consigned to the history books.”

PETA UK have highlighted what is involved in many bullfight festivals across the world, saying the animals are repeatedly stabbed and mutilated until they are removed from the arena.

It said: "Tens of thousands of bulls are slaughtered annually in bullfighting festivals around the world. During these events, assailants on horses drive lances into a bull’s back and neck before others plunge banderillas into his back, inflicting acute pain whenever he turns his head and impairing his range of motion.

"Eventually, when the bull becomes weak from blood loss, a matador appears and attempts to kill the animal by plunging a sword into his lungs or, if that fails, cutting his spinal cord with a knife. The bull may be paralysed but still conscious as his ears or tail are cut off and presented to the matador as a trophy and his body is dragged from the arena."

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