surinenglish

Running out of sense

Aman in apparent good health died in Arcos de la Frontera last weekend after being gored by a bull called Trampero. It wasn't an accidental death, as the town's Security councillor says, but the result of the absurdity of these festivals in Arcos and other towns in the province of Cadiz and the rest of Spain that copy Pamplona's Sanfermines and involve running in front of a bull for fun, with a significant chance of being crushed, gored or killed.

The councillor admits that putting yourself in front of a 510-kilo bull is dangerous, but that this is an old tradition that is not going to change. Nobody is forced to run in front of a bull. She argues that there are a lot of fun activities that are dangerous, such as skiing in the Andes when you might be buried by an avalanche.

“No one has asked for mountain sports to be banned because of that,” she said.

So much effort to apply common sense to nonsense amazes me. Starting with the name of the festival Toro del Aleluya, so-called to celebrate Easter, that is, the resurrection of Jesus, according to Christian tradition. That's right, resurrection.

It's true that for centuries Spanish tradition has been full of bulls being dragged out for celebrations and commemorations, but times have changed and there are a lot more activities that are fun and even provide a dose of adrenaline. A big wheel, for example, does it for me. Everyone can be free to put themselves in as much danger as they want as long as it doesn't put others at risk, but with public funds?

The councillor is proud that a huge security operation was put in place to allow Trampero the bull to run around, with 120 officers and a small field hospital, just in case. More paradox. Of course something could go wrong if you have a 510-kilo bull on your heels. What is most incredible is how the events are reported, when they say that there have only been cuts and bruises and the odd minor injury in Arcos' neighbouring towns.

This is the country we live in. We make laws to protect animals but with exceptions, one being the bull. And we also forget to protect the species that we put in greatest danger: our own, the human being. Frankly, it's about time a brave government applied a bit of sense to all these festivals that involve releasing bulls to run into people and the others that involve people chasing bulls and killing them for fun.

It's not really that funny.