This Is Why Banning the Running of the Bulls Is a Feminist Issue

Posted by on July 26, 2016 | Permalink

Thirty women’s, children’s, and animal-protection groups have come together to demand an end to violence at the San Fermín festival.


At this year’s San Fermín festival in Pamplona, Spain, there were 11 allegations of sexual assault, four rapes, and one attempted rape. The attacks included one alleged gang rape, in which five men attacked a 19-year-old woman.

Shockingly, this violence isn’t unusual. These types of attacks have been occurring with depressing regularity for years during the nine-day “festival”, which is best known for the infamous Running of the Bulls and notorious for attracting huge raucous, drunken crowds. Now, thousands of people are taking to Pamplona’s streets to demand that city authorities act to stop these sexual attacks.


Along with local Spanish groups, we’ve also been campaigning against the event for many years because of its callous cruelty to animals: 54 bulls are tortured and killed in Pamplona’s bullrings every July.

But these two issues aren’t unrelated – numerous studies have found a clear link between cruelty to animals and violence against humans. Both stem from a lack of empathy towards others and a sick impulse to prey on the vulnerable. One study by the Massachusetts SPCA and Northeastern University found that:

 “It’s becoming increasingly clear that the festival needs to be banned to protect humans and animals.”

So following reports of this year’s attacks, we’ve teamed up with 30 organisations across Europe to call on the Mayor of Pamplona, Joseba Asirón, to end the violence in the city by banning the San Fermín festival.

As the letter, signed by groups such as Solace Women’s Aid, Standing Together, and NAPAC, says:

“We are united in our fight against violence”.

More than 100 cities across Spain have already banned bullfights and other cruel events that harm animals. Please help us persuade Pamplona to do the same.

We want to show the Mayor that violent festivals are not the main reason why tourists visit the city. Share all the positive things that you love about Spain by taking part in our #BetterThanBullfights campaign.