No Bull: Humane Society Urges USDA to Investigate U.S. Bull-Running Events

With the famous Running of the Bulls festival underway in Pamplona, Spain, the Humane Society of the United States wants the government to go after similar unlicensed events here at home.

It takes the right combination of bravery and insanity for a person to willingly participate in the annual Running of the Bulls, which takes place during the nine-day festival of San Fermín every July in Pamplona, Spain.

Events modeled after the Pamplona festival pop up around the globe, and now the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is trying to put an end to what it calls “unlicensed bull-running events” happening here at home.

In a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, HSUS called on the USDA to investigate whether two companies behind the events—the next of which is scheduled to take place in Petersburg, Virginia, in August—are properly licensed.

“These events are a shameful example of cruelty for the sake of nothing more than entertainment and profit,” Ann Chynoweth, senior director of the HSUS End Animal Cruelty and Fighting campaign, said in a statement. “These companies put the health and safety of both humans and animals at risk, without the required federal oversight.”

According to the letter, events that “exhibit animals for entertainment and compensation” are required by the Animal Welfare Act to be licensed so that the USDA can provide oversight ensuring the safety of the public and the animals.

“Because of the inherently dangerous nature of these events for both the people and animals involved, it is likely that the events cannot be held at all in their present configuration,” HSUS said in the letter. “Given … the evidence of injuries to participants from past events, we are highly skeptical that they could ever comply with the requirements of the AWA.”

In Monday’s event in Pamplona, four people were hospitalized with injuries suffered during the run, FoxNews reported. Since record keeping began in 1911, 15 people have died. Running-of-the-bulls events have been held in the U.S. since 1997, the most recent last year.


Rob Stott

By Rob Stott

Rob Stott is a contributing editor for Associations Now. MORE

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