Smith Condemns Barbaric Spanish Festival

SNP MEP and Honorary Vice President of the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA) Alyn Smith has condemned an annual ‘blood fiesta’, which will takes place today (Tuesday).

Toro de la Vega, held in the small northern Spanish town of Tordesillas during the second week of September, sees hundreds of men on foot and horseback and armed with lances pursue a released bull. The bull is attacked and stabbed repeatedly until death. 

The man who delivers the fatal blow to the bull cuts off his ears, tail and testicles as trophies - often before the bull is dead, is treated like a hero and is even awarded a golden badge and iron lance from the Council.

Alyn said:

“Blood fiestas are not uncommon in Spain and the Toro de la Vega is a prime example of the brutality involved. The justification given is tradition and culture. I don’t believe that we live in a world where stabbing a defenceless and frightened animal to death can be classed as culture, and tradition once dictated that we lived in caves.

“Bullfighting and the associated animal welfare issues are well-documented but blood fiestas actually kill bulls in a much more bestial manner with the animal taking half an hour or more to die and the removal of parts of its body taking place while it is still alive.  Toro de la Vega is centuries old but it was banned and illegal for a while before, unimaginably, it was reintroduced in 1999.

“I have no difficulty with animals being killed for food and would normally say that the internal matters of another country are the business of that country and its people, but the images and videos I have been shown of blood fiestas make them impossible to ignore. Cruel traditions like this have no place in the 21st century and I'm calling on the relevant authorities to ban them in the same way that Catalonia banned bullfighting last year."

Further details on Toro de la Vega are available here -