On a main road in northern Granada, bulls were supposedly guided with multiple ropes pulled by mounted cowboys. One bull, of magnificent stature, was stalled in the middle of the street, surrounded by thousands of frenzied spectators. The bull was obviously exhausted and in an altered state from the abuse leading up to the moment. The animal received not just jeering, but lashes and punches from daring young men who felt the need to prove something about their bravery by goading the animal.
|A bull, stalled in the middle of the street, is goaded as a horse with rider approach. Photo Jeffrey McCrary.|
Then, a rider approached him to provoke him to advance, and the horse was guided directly to the side of the bull, leaving the flanks of the innocent horse exposed. The bull responded by planting a horn into the horse and lifting the horse, with rider still mounted, up until the hind feet were suspended in the air. He held the horse in this position, still, for at least fifteen seconds.
|This abusive rider placed his horse in evident danger, causing the horse to be impaled by a bull. Photo Jeffrey McCrary.|
|The wound suffered by this horse, gored by a bull while being ridden, was surely fatal. Photo Jeffrey McCrary.|
The blood sport which makes up this event, in its entirety, has no cultural value, and only serves to degrade and bring suffering to animals, as well as to put people at risk unnecessarily. Shortly after this occurrence, an ambulance was required to ferry a wounded person to seek emergency medical care. As would be expected, a dense crowd pressed on the victim, where hundreds of men competed for the best view of the misery of the poor man who had been trampled.
The society of Nicaragua needs to rethink why this event occurs at all. Its only apparent objectives appear to be to allow large hordes of men, many of whom were drunk, to abuse animals or to watch and enjoy the abuse performed by others. This event provides no function for the beef industry, and the suffering of the bull and the horse both were in blatant violation of the Law 747 which protects the welfare of all animals.
The activities surrounding the running of the bulls is not only shameful because the animals are subjected to unnecessary suffering. The event encourages risky behavior among men and boys that invariably leads to serious injuries for a few unlucky, daring abusers. But a greater impact is the message, in the form of a call, to which thousands respond in each running of the bulls. That message is that making animals suffer needlessly is appropriate, and even to be enjoyed by humans. There is no argument that can be given to justify the suffering imposed on the bulls, other than as entertainment.