The Great Bull Run in Texas Was Exactly What I ExpectedPosted by Alexis Braun, ALDF Litigation Clerk on February 7, 2014
I attended the Great Bull Run in Baytown, Texas, on Saturday, January 25, because I wanted to be a witness to the event and the treatment of the bulls. What I saw was exactly what I expected: people scaring animals for their own entertainment. Before each run participants are led in reciting a “Bull Honorific” which includes the phrase “we honor the bull,” but there is no honor in scaring animals for our own entertainment or sport—and certainly none in scaring animals because we desire an adrenaline rush.
I arrived around one and purchased a spectator ticket. Around 1:30, Great Bull Run employees began to allow runners onto the track. When all who had registered for the run were on the track, the announcer read safety instructions. (I’m using the words “safety instructions” loosely here—the instructions lasted for just over a minute and included a reminder that you shouldn’t carry a firearm during the run.)
After the safety instructions, the announcer asked the runners to hold their bandanas in the air and led them in reciting the “Bull Honorific”: “Here we are the courageous few, to test ourselves and honor the bull. From those that run to those that fall, we honor the bull and salute you all.”
Next, the runners spread out along the track and sixteen bulls from one of the corrals were released. When the bulls saw the runners, they stopped running and tried to turn around to return to their corral. Two men on horseback whipped the bulls until they again began running towards the crowd of runners. Once the bulls breached the runners, the whole thing lasted less than half a minute. The bulls were put into a new corral, and the runners exited the track.
The next run I witnessed was the last of the day. It was during this run that a man later identified as 21-year-old Hugo Soto was trampled. Soto was immediately taken to an ambulance parked near the track and was treated for head injuries at a nearby hospital before being released later in the day.
Organizers of the Great Bull Run events have publicly denied that the runs are cruel, stating, “We do not torture, abuse or do anything cruel to the bulls.” The organizers believe that animal cruelty is limited to the torture and killing of animals. However, animals experience fear, and many might say (and I would agree) that putting animals in a state of fear for our own pleasure or entertainment constitutes animal cruelty.
There are humane alternatives to events like the Great Bull Run. We do not need to be scaring animals for our own entertainment.
Great Bull Run events are scheduled to take place in ten cities in 2014. Pledge today to boycott the Great Bull Run!