PAMPLONA (Spanish) -- On Tuesday, dozens of animal rights activists dressed up as dinosaurs ran through the Spanish city of Pamplona to protest animal cruelty at the San Fermin Running of the Bulls festival.
The protest Tuesday saw the dinosaurs representing bulls and the mob that supported the San Fermin revelers. Placards were carried by the activists that read, "Bullfighting Is Prehistoric." The point of the show was to demonstrate that runs can be lighthearted and held with no cruelty to animals.
This was the 18th annual PETA and AnimalNaturalis protests. The traditional "chupinazo," firework blast in Pamplona's town square at noon is the start of the protests. The runs start on Thursday.
Chelsea Monroe, senior digital campaign officer at PETA, stated that bullfighting is the ritualized execution of bulls. Many tourists who go to bull-runs don’t realize that bulls they’re running down with later die in the bullring.
Monroe said, "They are stabbed repeatedly for 20 minutes until their bodies fall apart." "We want tourists to understand that this industry is really cruel."
Protests are not likely to dampen San Fermin's enthusiasm, which is normally seen Pamplona’s population of 200,000 rise to around 1,000,000 during the peak days of the nine-day festival.
Festival highlights include the "encierro" or early morning run. This involves thousands of people racing madly to avoid six bulls while they race along a cobblestoned path to the bullring.
The rest of the day can be used for food, drink, dancing and cultural entertainment.
During the festival, six bulls are killed in bullfights.
Jana Uritz, AnimalNaturalis, stated that the debate about Spain's future bullfighting has never been more alive. She also said that the authorities should take a clear position. We demand that they have the courage to state whether they support animal torture or are open to banning such barbarisms.
Bullfighting remains a popular sport in Spain, even though the movement to ban it has grown in popularity in recent years. Bullfighting is prohibited in the Canary Islands, but it is still practiced in other areas such as Catalonia, Menorca, and Ibiza.
Animal rights groups cite Culture Ministry figures. They state that 90% of Spaniards didn't attend bullfighting festivals in 2014-2015, which was the last year this issue was studied.