Animal Legal Defense Fund, PETA Sue to Stop Dangerous and Illegal California Great Bull RunsPosted on March 13, 2014
Animal Groups Warn of Ongoing Injuries, Cruelty during “Extreme Sporting” Events
For immediate release:
Lisa Franzetta, Animal Legal Defense Fund
Megan Backus, Animal Legal Defense Fund
SAN FRANCISCO — Today, the national nonprofits Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) filed a lawsuit against the Great Bull Run and the Lone Star Rodeo in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The lawsuit aims to stop the Great Bull Run events currently scheduled in Northern and Southern California this summer—on June 21 at Temecula Downs Events Center in Riverside County, near Los Angeles, and July 26 at the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Northern California (a bull run was previously scheduled for Lake Elsinore, Calif. but was not permitted, out of concern for public health and safety). This case is the first lawsuit filed to stop the Great Bull Run, which has received widespread outcry across the United States. According to the lawsuit, these events violate California’s anti-cruelty law and Unfair Competition Law.
During the Great Bull Run, organizers send as many as three dozen panicked bulls, weighing nearly one ton each, barreling down a narrow track at up to thirty-five miles per hour, chasing fleeing runners—many of whom have been drinking alcohol. Not surprisingly, three previous Great Bull Run events have sent participants to the hospital. Furthermore, veterinary experts have concluded that the event causes unnecessary suffering and stress to the animals. “As a bovine veterinarian, I can confirm that this event is extremely stressful for the bulls and presents substantial risk of injury to them, as well as an enormous public safety risk to the humans participating,” said Dr. Holly Cheever, veterinarian and vice president of the New York State Humane Association.
California’s Penal Code makes it unlawful to cause any bull to fight with a human or to subject any animal to needless suffering, which bull runs do. California also bans the promotion and exhibition of bulls in “bloodless bullfights” and similar events, which ALDF and PETA contend includes the Great Bull Run. ALDF and PETA are asking the court to stop the events.
“Kind people around the world realize that it’s cruel to force panicked animals to careen through a track, trampling runners and potentially injuring themselves in the process,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders. “This event is unsafe, unsporting, and un-American—and, in the state of California, PETA contends it is also illegal.”
“These events show great disregard for animal welfare in pursuit of a cheap thrill and a profit,” said Stephen Wells, executive director of the Animal Legal Defense Fund. “For the well-being of the bulls, as well as the safety of the public, we are asking the court to stop the Great Bull Run.”
ALDF and PETA are represented by in-house counsel and the law firm Evans & Page.
Copies of the complaint are available by request.
ALDF was founded in 1979 with the unique mission of protecting the lives and advancing the interests of animals through the legal system. For more information, please visit aldf.org.
Founded in 1980, PETA is the largest animal rights organization in the world, with more than 3 million members and supporters. PETA works through public education, cruelty investigations, celebrity involvement, protest campaigns, and more to spread the message that animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, use for entertainment, or to abuse in any other way. For more information, please visit PETA.org.