In Pictures: Years of Protesting Against the Running of the Bulls

Fifty-four bulls are killed every year at the San Fermín festival in Spain.

Revellers at the Running of the Bulls may be oblivious to the fact that every single one of the terrified animals they chase through the cobbled streets will be dead a few days later, after being stabbed to death in a bullfight.

In recent years, PETA and Spanish group AnimaNaturalis have staged eye-catching protests in Pamplona, in which activists have drawn attention to the vicious cruelty of the bull run and subsequent bullfights.

2020: Colourful Celebration Marks Cancellation of Bullfights in Pamplona

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Running of the Bulls planned for 2020 was cancelled. To mark the cancellation of this year’s event, members of PETA and AnimaNaturalis – some with bulls painted on their chests, others dressed in all-white running outfits – gathered in Pamplona on what would’ve been the first day of the infamous bull runs. The protesters broke “banderillas” (props that simulated decorated darts used to plunge into the bull’s neck and shoulders) containing multi-coloured powdered paint above their heads to signal what they hope is the start of a new era in Spain – one without bullfighting. Banners read, “No More Deaths. End Bullfighting.”

©EsaEnnelin

2019: 54 Activists Lie ‘Dead’ in Running of the Bulls ‘Crime Scene’

54 protesters staged a “crime scene” cordoned off with yellow tape in Pamplona, Spain. The supporters of PETA and Spanish animal protection group AnimaNaturalis represent each of the bulls who faced a bloody death in the city in July 2019 after being chased through the streets during the infamous Running of the Bulls.

2018: PETA Activists Proclaim “Stop the Bloody Bullfights

More than 100 activists marched to the beat of drums towards the Plaza Consistorial in Pamplona, Spain, holding signs proclaiming, “Stop the Bloody Bullfights.” The supporters of PETA affiliates and Spanish animal-protection group AnimaNaturalis – half of whom were “runners” and half of whom were “bulls” – shot blood-red flares into the sky to call for an end to the city’s yearly torment and killing of bulls at the San Fermín festival’s hideously cruel Running of the Bulls event.

2017: PETA Activists Fill Sky With ‘Blood’

Around 100 supporters of PETA and AnimaNaturalis gathered in the centre of Pamplona with “Stop Bullfights” emblazoned in black paint on their nearly naked bodies. The activists snapped banderilla props filled with powdered red paint above their heads, filling the sky with a cloud of “blood”. As the “blood” settled, they held up signs in English and Spanish with a reminder for festival-goers: “Bulls Die a Bloody Death in Pamplona”.

2016: Mass ‘Bloodbath’ in Pamplona’s Main Square

Dozens of people from all over the world took part in the “bloody” protest, and the Mayor of Pamplona voiced his support for anti-bullfighting protesters. What a difference from 2004, when a previous Mayor turned down PETA Europe’s request for a permit to stage a peaceful protest!

2015: Staining the Streets Red

Naked activists from PETA and AnimaNaturalis created a “river of blood” flowing from Pamplona’s bullring.

2014: ‘You Run. Bulls Die’, Say ‘Blood’-Spattered ‘Grim Reapers’

In 2014, with their faces painted to look like the Grim Reaper, “blood” on their hands, and signs reading, “You Run. Bulls Die”, PETA and AnimaNaturalis’ “death runners” sent a sobering message to anyone in doubt about the cruelty that occurs at the annual San Fermín festival.

2013: 48 Activists in Coffins Mourn 48 Murdered Bulls

As the bullfighting lobby tried to secure legal protection for its bloody “sport”, 48 nearly naked activists posed in black “coffins” in Pamplona’s main square to represent the 48 bulls that would later be stabbed to death in the city’s bullring.

2012: Nearly Naked, Bodypainted Activists From Around the Globe Descend on Pamplona

For the 2012 protest, bodypainted activists lay outside the Mayor’s residence, spelling out “Stop Bullfights” in giant letters.

2011: More Than 100 Nearly Naked, Bodypainted Activists Descend on Pamplona

We’re back. In addition to creating a stunning live tableau of a bull, activists distributed leaflets in English, German, Japanese, and Spanish to encourage tourists to turn their backs on cruel bullfighting.

2010: PETA and AnimaNaturalis’ New-Look Demonstration

Just shy of 100 activists stripped down to their underwear, had their bodies painted, and then lay on the ground to form the shape of a giant bull in Pamplona’s main square.

2009: More Than 200 People From Around the World Take Part

According to a 2009 survey, 76 per cent of Spaniards showed no interest in attending or supporting bullfights, and opposition to these cruel spectacles continues to rise. At our demonstration that year, people from around the world again lay naked and “bloodied” and appeared to have banderillas (spears) protruding from their backs.

2008: A New Approach

2008 brought with it a new direction: this was the first year that caring people from Spain and abroad lay naked and “bloodied”, “speared” by banderillas.

2007: The Sixth Annual Running of the Nudes Is the Most Festive Event Yet

People from 30 different countries joined PETA Europe’s sixth annual Running of the Nudes. Wearing nothing but plastic bull horns, Running of the Nudes–logo knickers, and red scarves, compassionate revellers showed Pamplona just how much fun they could have without harming a hair on a bull’s head.

2006: The Fifth Annual Running of the Nudes

In 2006, more than 1,000 nude people ran through the streets of Pamplona for the event. It was a marvellous party – a real fiesta – complete with musicians and dancing.

2005: The Fourth Annual Running of the Nudes

Six hundred people from all over the world participated in the fourth annual Running of the Nudes, wearing red scarves, fake bull horns, bodypaint, and little else. The event received international media attention.

2004: More Than 350 Runners Hit Pamplona

Although the Mayor of Pamplona turned down PETA Europe’s request for a permit to protest in 2004, the regional government allowed the event to go ahead, on the condition that participants covered their – ahem – private parts.

2003: The Running of the Nudes Is a Grand Success

The second annual Running of the Nudes was six times bigger than the first event: 150 activists took to the streets of Pamplona, where they were met by riot police! The officers blocked the nude “runners” to prevent them from running through the streets, but that didn’t stop onlookers from hearing the chants of “End the bloody bullfights”.

2002: A New Tradition Is Born in Pamplona

The Running of the Nudes started life in Pamplona when 25 naked people streaked through the winding streets.


Bullfighting is a sickening tradition responsible for the massacre of around 250,000 bulls every year. Please help us stop this cruel form of entertainment – because torture is not culture.

All over Spain, people are taking action against bullfights. More than 100 towns have banned the horrific spectacle to date – but it’s not enough. It’s time the Spanish government put a stop to the abuse.

Please sign our petition calling on the Prime Minister of Spain to implement a nationwide ban on bullfights and bull runs.