Showdown with Animal Advocates over Texas Bull RunPosted on December 3, 2013
Dangerous and Illegal “Mass Gathering” Bullies Animals, Puts Public in Harm’s Way
For immediate release:
Lisa Franzetta, Animal Legal Defense Fund
Megan Backus, Animal Legal Defense Fund
HOUSTON — Today, the national nonprofit Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) called on Chambers County Judge Jimmy Sylvia to prohibit a “running of the bulls” event scheduled for this Saturday, December 7, at the Royal Purple Raceway. According to a letter sent to Judge Sylvia by ALDF, the Great Bull Run violates section 751.003 of the Texas Health and Safety Code, which prohibits mass gatherings without a permit. The Chambers County court admits the Great Bull Run Company has not even bothered to apply for such a permit.
Deadly bull runs in Pamplona, Spain, inspired this weekend’s Great Bull Run, which entails serious risk of injury to humans and animals. Two dozen aggressive bulls—each weighing as much as 1,700 pounds—will barrel down a track after a mass of fleeing runners, many of whom have been drinking alcohol. Predictably, past Great Bull Run events have resulted in serious injuries: in Virginia, two participants were taken to the hospital with concussions; in Georgia, one participant broke his pelvis in three places. Great Bull Run owner Rob Dickens said he expects “broken bones and bloodshed” and confessed that “people will get hurt.” Safety concerns recently led the city manager of Lake Elsinore, California to deny a permit for the Great Bull Run planned in March 2014, recognizing that “this event invited inexperienced, untrained and unprotected participants to take part in what could be a dangerous and unpredictable activity.”
The Texas Mass Gatherings Act makes it unlawful for anyone to promote a mass gathering without a permit—a requirement intended to ensure public safety and adequate planning when thousands of people gather in one place. According to promotional materials, the Great Bull Run Company expects to draw thousands of thrill-seekers” this weekend to “this massive day-long festival.” This violation of state law constitutes a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, up to ninety days in county jail, or both. ALDF’s letter asks local officials to cancel the Great Bull Run Company’s event in the interest of public safety and animal welfare.
“We call bull on this ‘sport.’ It is both dangerous to the public and antagonistic to innocent animals,” said Stephen Wells, executive director of ALDF. “Chambers County is obligated to put a stop to this cruel and illegal mass gathering.”
Copies of ALDF’s letter are available by request.