18 Aug 2015

Seven people gored to death by bulls

10:57 am on 18 August 2015

Four more people were killed by bulls during Spanish running of the bulls festivals last weekend, bringing the total number of people gored to death by bulls since July to seven.

Bull in the running of the bulls in Argujillo, Spain

All the deaths occurred during bull-running in the streets. Photo: AFP

The deaths all occurred during bull-running in the streets, not in bullrings. It is an unusually high number of fatalities for such a short period.

Among them was a 36-year-old town councillor gored in Penafiel, a town near Valladolid, north of Madrid.

Further north an 18-year-old man gored in the stomach died in Lerin, Navarra.

The other deaths occurred during bull festivals in the regions of Valencia, Murcia, Toledo, Castellon and Alicante.

Last year more than 7,200 bulls and steers (castrated bull calves) were killed by bullfighters across Spain, the news website El Diario reports.

Nearly 2,000 bullfights - or "corridas" - are still held in the country every year, but the numbers are falling. In 2010, Catalonia became the second Spanish region after the Canary Islands to ban the tradition.

Opponents condemn bullfighting as barbaric, but it still has many fans in Spain, including Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.

A Spanish law passed in 2013 defends bullfighting as part of the nation's cultural heritage, saying it is the state's duty to "preserve it and promote it", El Pais website reports.

According to Spanish economics lecturer Juan Medina at the University of Extremadura, bullfighting generated €282.4m in 2013, of which €59m was income from sales tax (VAT).