Photos: ‘Bulls’ in Red Veils at Vatican Denounce Catholic-“Sponsored” Bullfights, Call on Pope

Vatican City – Because bullfights are often held in honour of Catholic saints or during Christian celebrations, PETA is launching a new campaign urging Pope Francis to condemn these gory spectacles. To kick-start the campaign, supporters of PETA and Italian animal protection groups Ente Nazionale Protezione Animali and Animalisti Italiani gathered in a cross formation near the Vatican today wearing “horns” and red floor-length veils, holding a banner reading, “Catholic Church: Silence Is Violence! Condemn Bullfighting.” The action follows the recent Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain, where spectators chase animals to their deaths in the bullring and call it entertainment. The event takes place during the San Fermín festival, which has Catholic roots.

Photos and video from the action are available here.

“The Bible asks us to be merciful to all of God’s creations, yet bulls are tortured in the name of saints at Catholic celebrations,” says PETA Vice President for Europe Mimi Bekhechi. “Pope Francis is widely revered for his kindness to animals, so PETA is asking him to communicate to the world’s 1 billion Catholics that bullfights violate Christian virtues.”

PETA notes that His Holiness Pope Francis wrote in his encyclical Laudato Si’ that “every act of cruelty towards any creature is ‘contrary to human dignity’” and that, as long ago as the 16th century, Pope St Pius V banned bullfights for being “cruel” and “removed from Christian piety and charity”. During these ritualised executions, bulls are taunted and stabbed with a lance and several harpoon-like banderillas before being killed with a sword.

PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment” – opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit or follow the group on FacebookTwitterTikTok or Instagram.


Sascha Camilli +44 (0) 20 7923 6244; [email protected]