back to top

Bulls Kill Seven People During Spain's Summer Festivals

Three more people were gored to death in Spain over the weekend, that's in addition to four others killed since June.

Originally posted on
Updated on

Three people were killed by bulls in Spain over the weekend, bringing the summer's death toll to seven – an unusually high number of deaths in a little more than a month of bull running and fighting festivities.

Among the deceased was was a town councillor who perished in Penafiel, a town north of Madrid, and an 18 year old who was gored in the stomach in Lerin, Navarra, according to the BBC.

Last week, David Mellado Lopez died as a result of injuries sustained when he was gored in the back of the neck by a bull in Villaseca de la Sagra, according to Newsweek. In July a 44-year-old French man was killed while filming the bull-running festival in San Fermin in Pamplona, Alicante. The first two casualties of the festivals occurred in June when a 43-year-old man and a 70-year-old man were gored in Coria and Ampolla respectively.

A law passed in 2013 upholds bullfighting as part of Spain's cultural heritage, citing the state's obligation to "preserve it and promote it," according to El Pais. Catalonia and the Canary Islands are the only two Spanish regions that have banned the tradition.

While no deaths occurred in the Pamplona this year's running of the bulls, last month, two Americans and one Briton were injured.

A 38-year-old from California was gored in his right armpit, while a 27-year-old American was also injured in an undisclosed spot, according to Agence France Presse.

A British man was gored between the legs in the perineum area, AFP reported. None of the injuries is considered life threatening.

Tuesday's run included six animals from the Jandilla ranch from the Extremadura region and lasted two minutes and 23 seconds. Another eight people suffered minor injuries such as bruises and cuts sustained from falling during the run.

The tradition dates back to 1591, when when men would rush their cattle to be the first at the marketplace.

A total of 15 people have died in Pamplona since 1911, the last being in 2009 when a bull gored a Spanish man in the heart, neck, and lungs. The festival, which was celebrated in Ernest Hemingway’s novel The Sun Also Rises, will continue through July 14.

Over the weekend, animal rights activists calling for an end to the tradition protested outside of the Pamplona bullring, claiming it harms the bulls.

Protesters included activists from PETA and AnimaNaturalis.

Mary Ann Georgantopoulos is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Mary Ann Georgantopoulos at

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.