Around the globe, men stab bulls to death in front of jeering audiences. These gruesome events are often held in honour of Catholic saints or during Christian celebrations, prompting PETA entities to call on Pope Francis to condemn bull torture.
To launch the new campaign, Italian singer and TV personality Daniela Martani joined supporters of PETA and local groups ENPA and Animalisti Italiani outside Vatican City.
The action follows the recent Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain. At the beginning of July, spectators chased the terrified animals down cobblestone streets. After the run, men on horseback stabbed the bulls to death in a bullring in the name of entertainment. Around 60 bulls were killed over the course of the 10-day San Fermín festival, which has Catholic roots.
Catholic Links to Bullfighting
The Bible asks us to be merciful to all of God’s creation, yet bulls are tortured in “honour” of saints at Catholic celebrations. His Holiness Pope Francis is widely revered for his kindness to animals, so we are asking him to communicate to the world’s 1 billion Catholics that using bulls for entertainment violates Christian virtues.
Pope Francis wrote in his encyclical Laudato Si’ that “every act of cruelty towards any creature is ‘contrary to human dignity’”.
Furthermore, as long ago as the 16th century, Pope St Pius V banned the use of bulls for entertainment, describing it as “cruel” and “removed from Christian piety and charity”.
What Happens During a Bullfight?
During these ritualised executions, a distressed bull is taunted and provoked. He is repeatedly stabbed with weapons such as lances and harpoon-like banderillas.
Once he’s weak from blood loss, a matador – “killer” in Spanish – will kill him by plunging a sword into his heart or lungs. If the matador fails to kill the bull, he will use a knife to sever the animal’s spinal cord.
Once the bull is finally dead, the matador may cut off his ears and tail to be kept as a trophy. Afterwards, the animal’s body is dragged out of the arena.
Sign PETA’s Petition to Pope Francis
Please join our campaign and urge the pope to publicly denounce the cruelty of bullfighting spectacles in the Catholic Church’s name: