Shocking photos show crowds taunting bulls as they are forced to jump into the sea near Alicante, a Spanish tourist resort popular with Britoins.
The animals are goaded into the sea by those celebrating the running of the bulls ‘Bous a la mar’ (Bulls in the sea) festival on Spain’s Mediterranean coast.
One image shows a huge brown bull charge head first into the sea, while a reveler holds up a white flag at the creature.
Another shows a black animal struggle to swim as his hooves, horns, and head splash out of the water.
The pictures, taken in Denia’s coast are part of the controversial festival which takes place during the first weekend in July every year.
One questionable image shows a five men attempt to tame the bovine beast in the water.
Two men hold onto the bull from behind while another attempts to tie it to a boat and a third and fourth row.
It comes following the second day of a controversial festival in Pamplona, northern Spain that’s been slammed by animal rights activists and seen at least 10 people injured.
The festival, 400 miles north of Alicante, sees dozens of bulls die in every year.
The centuries-old bullfighting tradition has long been a contentious issue in Spain.
The Canary Islands became the first Spanish region to pass a ban on the ‘barbaric’ tradition in 1991. Twenty years later, Catalonia followed suit.
While pro-bullfighting groups have fought against restrictions, getting the tradition protected under Unesco’s cultural heritage list, fights are still on the decline.
There were 810 fights in 2008, but that number fell more than half to just 369 last year.
Yesterday in Pamplona, a 19-year-old woman was gored in the spine and four others were left injured on the second day of the running of the bulls festival.
Two men and a woman were hospitalized with head injuries or severe bruises, as thousands took to the streets in the second bull run of this year’s controversial event.
One of them was struck in the back by the bull’s horns and suffered a spinal injury, but did not need to go to the hospital.
Another received a blow to the head and was taken to the hospital still conscious.
A third is believed to have broken his left shoulder and another was kicked in the back. A fifth was treated for bruises.
None of the injuries are believed to be life-threatening.
The six bulls from the Cebada Gago ranch, which is known for raising ferocious beasts, were surrounded by tame cattle for most of the 930-yard (850-metre) route to the bullring, leaving runners scrambling for limited space close to their horns.
The race lasted two minutes and 23 seconds.
It comes just a day after five more were injured on the festival’s opening day.
One, a 23-year-old American, is said to be ‘serious’ after being gored in the left leg.
The other gore victims were described as a 46-year-old Californian, who suffered a superficial neck wound, and a 40-year-old from the northern Spanish province of La Rioja also gored in the left leg.
An 18-year-old from the Basque city of San Sebastian and a 23-year-old from Barcelona were also taken to hospital with head wounds.
Although their condition is not said to be serious, hospital staff said one was rushed from the scene unconscious and only came round in the ambulance.
The TV footage showed a man being lifted up in the air and dumped on his backside after being surprised from behind by one of the half-tonne animals as he jogged along the half-mile course through the streets of Pamplona.
One of the six fighting bulls which charged down the course to the bull ring, led by six steers, fell early on.
Another became separated from the rest of the pack towards the end and was last to be ushered into pens after completing the run, in two minutes 40 seconds and around half a minute after the other animals.
A spokesman for Pamplona’s Hospital Complex initially said they had received only one man who had been gored, in his left leg, confirming another two patients had been brought to the hospital with head injuries.
One of the people rushed to hospital with head injuries was taken away from the scene unconscious, but the hospital spokesman said he had come round in the ambulance.
It was not immediately clear if one of the gore victims was the man caught unawares from behind, whose jeans were ripped at the top of his leg as he was lifted up in the air on the end of the bull’s horn and dumped on the cobbles.
Red Cross spokesman José Aldaba says the most seriously injured were treated Sunday at the main regional hospital following the race, which lasted 2 minutes and 41 seconds.
The six bulls, accompanied by tame bullocks, ran together in a pack for most of the course to the city’s bullring.
One of them stumbled toward the end, causing panic and at least one goring when it charged at some racers.
Saturday morning’s run was the first of the eight bulls runs over the annual nine-day festival, known in Spain as San Fermin.
The nine-day San Fermin fiesta, which kicked off Saturday at midday with the traditional ‘chupinazo’, draws around one million visitors annually.
Each day, bulls are run every morning and killed in afternoon bullfights.
Sixteen people have been killed at the annual festival, which finishes on July 14.
The most recent death was in 2009 when 27-year-old Daniel Jimeno, from Madrid, was gored in the neck by a bull called Capuchino.
Several foreigners, from Australians to Americans through to Brits and Irish, are normally among the injured.
Between 200 and 300 are usually injured each year at the festival during the bull runs.
Saturday’s opening erupted with controversy after animal rights campaigners flooded the arena of one of the first bull fight’s when a bull was speared to death.
Footage of the incident was released by Peta UK on Twitter, which can be seen above.
But it is the eight-morning runs, called encierros in Spanish, that form the highlight of the festival.
Most revelers party all day – and often all night – with many getting little sleep and sometimes none at all before watching the 8 am encierros behind the safety of wooden barriers.
Party-goers wearing traditional red and white were quickly soaked in sangria as the event got underway.
The festival, which attracts annually around a million people to the northern city, was immortalized in the 1920s by American novelist and Literature Nobel Prize winner Ernest Hemingway.
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