Pope to Get Bottle of ‘Bull’s Blood’ for His Birthday in Bullfighting Protest

Vatican City – Singer and TV personality Daniela Martani delivered a gruesome gift to the Vatican for Pope Francis’ 87th birthday, courtesy of PETA: a bottle filled with “blood” and emblazoned with an urgent appeal for His Holiness to cut the Catholic Church’s ties with bullfighting and condemn the despicable blood sport. The note on the bottle reads, “The Church Has Bulls’ Blood on Its Hands: Denounce Bullfighting!”

Images and video are available here. Photos by Reuters are available here.

Every year, thousands of bulls are tormented and slaughtered in bullfights and bull festivals around the world in honour of Catholic saints. They are repeatedly speared and stabbed until – suffering from painful injuries and exhausted from blood loss – they are killed by a sword to the heart or a knife to the spine. Matadors may even cut off bulls’ ears or tails as trophies, sometimes while the animal is still conscious. A PETA campaign to compel Pope Francis to condemn the barbaric spectacles has gathered over 115,000 signatures from PETA entities around the world.

“Tormenting animals in the name of Catholic celebrations is out of touch with Christian values,” says Martani. “I hope that this gift will urge Pope Francis to wash his hands of bullfighting and the torture of God’s creatures.”

“Christ taught us that blessed are the merciful, but bulls in the bullring are shown no mercy as they’re viciously stabbed to death in front of bloodthirsty crowds,” says PETA Vice President for Europe Mimi Bekhechi. “PETA is calling on Pope Francis to honour the legacy of his namesake, St Francis of Assisi – the patron saint of animals – by urging Christians and people everywhere to reject these bloody spectacles.”

PETA points out that Pope Francis wrote in his encyclical Laudato Si’ that “[e]very act of cruelty towards any creature is ‘contrary to human dignity’”.

In the 16th century, Pope Pius V – who has since been canonised as a saint – banned bullfighting, which he described as “cruel” and contrary to “Christian piety and charity”. The ban forbids priests and other clergy from attending bullfights and barred the events from taking place on religious holidays under penalty of excommunication. However, the Church is failing to enforce the ban, and Catholic priests often officiate at religious ceremonies in bullrings and even minister to bullfighters in arena chapels.

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 PETA.org.uk or follow the group on Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), TikTok, or Instagram.


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