MADRID — A 66-year-old Spaniard died after being gored in the chest by a bull in a village festival in the Spanish province of Segovia Sunday, bringing the number of deaths by gorings in summer street festivities this year to around a dozen.
The high toll has raised questions about health and safety measures surrounding the traditional summer “fiestas” in thousands of Spanish villages in which bulls are let loose in the streets.
The most famous of these events is the San Fermin bull running, held in Pamplona in July, which has garnered a huge international following with tourists coming from around the world to participate.
But there are more than 15,000 similar events around Spain every year, where participants run in front of groups of bulls or try to get the animal to charge them before leaping into specially-constructed cages.
Bull breeders’ association UCTL said earlier this week the number of deaths this year represented less than 0.1 percent of the millions of participants. There are no official numbers of deaths by goring, although according to UCTL figures, Sunday’s death brings the toll to 12.
Attitudes are changing towards the treatment of bulls in Spain and some of the events, such as the “bous a la mar” in the village of Denia where the bull is chased into the sea, have been interrupted by protests by animal-rights activists.
Many of the new left-wing administrations in Spanish towns and regions that came to power after local elections in May have pulled subsidies from events involving bulls and are considering holding referendums on whether to continue them.