In a much needed development, the town of El Verger has banned a cruel practice of setting bulls’ horns on fire as part of the Running of the Bulls festival.

The El Verger City Council will no longer hire, subsidize, or authorize the cruel pastime, noting in an official statement that traditions evolve.

“Traditions evolve over time,” the statement said. “We believe that it is crucial to adapt to the changing sensibilities and values of our society. It is important to point out that numerous towns throughout the Spanish state and in other countries have chosen to stop holding events with bulls with fire due to similar concerns.”

The Council also said the decision aligns with their aim to ensure their actions guarantee “respect and dignity of all living beings.”

“The practice of setting fire in the horns causes unnecessary stress, injury, and suffering to the animals, which goes against our ethical principles and responsibility towards them,” a translation of the original statement’s Catalan read. 

El Verger’s Mayor Basili Salort echoed that statement, saying the decision was made “in accordance with the signs of the times and new sensibilities.”

“It is not against anyone but is in favor of the animal,” he said, according to Euro Weekly News.

We thank the more than 42,000 people who signed our petition on behalf of these bulls!

Bull with fire

A Bull Tortured in Museros, Spain (Photo credit: PACMA)

Unfortunately, the city will still allow the bull running festival itself – in which terrified bulls are chased through the street amid throngs of people before being killed in rigged bullfights later that evening. 

Salort told news he does not believe that the same “mistreatment” happens during the bull running festival — despite dozens of injuries to people each year, deaths (including a 27-year-old Spaniard impaled on a bull horn as recently as 2009) and the inevitable grisly demise of the bulls.

While banning the fire aspect of the bull runs is a positive step forward, the continued misperception that bull runs and bull fights are not cruel to the bulls shows how much work still needs to be done.

If you haven’t already, please sign our petition urging Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez to ban bloody bull fights!

SIGN: Justice for Bulls Stabbed, Killed, and Dragged at Horrific Spanish Bullfight