Former Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee has slammed Pamplona’s annual Running Of The Bulls and called it a “pathetic display of human idiocy and cruelty.”
The Spanish event, also known as the festival of San Fermin, is taking place this week and sees bulls and steers charge down the narrow streets of the historic city while ‘runners’ attempt to evade the animals.
The closing ritual every day sees the bulls fought and killed by a matador which has drawn sustained criticism from animal rights activists including PETA.
And in an open letter in The Independent, Lee has voiced his disgust at the event and joined calls for it to be banned.
Lee says: “I’m no stranger to wild behaviour – but there’s one thing that even I wouldn’t do and that’s running ‘with’ the bulls in Pamplona. That can fuck right off.
“While there may be guts – from the runners who are gored – there certainly isn’t any glory in trying to stay a few steps ahead of frightened, confused bulls.
“In the lead-up to the event, the animals are held in dark enclosures before being forced out – usually with an electric shock prod – into the jeering, drunken crowd.
“As they are momentarily blinded by the sunlight and struggle to take in their surroundings, men hit them with sticks and rolled-up newspapers. The panicked animals take off running down the city’s slippery cobblestone streets, often losing their footing and slamming into walls – or spectators – in their desperate attempt to flee the chaos.
“This isn’t a test of nerve and resolve. It’s a pathetic display of human idiocy and cruelty.”
Speaking about the closing daily ritual, Lee adds: “It’s truly more twisted than anything I could have imagined, even during my wildest days with Motley Crue.”
Lee says the majority of Spaniards don’t support bullfighting and cautions: “By paying money to run with the bulls or attend bullfights – even out of curiosity or by passively going along with events lined up for them in their travel itinerary – they are supporting cruelty.
“By the time they rush out of the arena in horror, the damage has already been done.”
Lee concludes: “From music to motocross, we have limitless ways to entertain ourselves that don’t involve harassing, torturing or killing animals.”
Last year’s Running Of The Bulls attracted 1.5 million visitors to the city.
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