Lisa Tilley finds out the prologue to the famous running of the bulls in Pamplona is a torture-free spectacle with more boobs and bums than bovines

FEET pound the cobbled streets, throwing dust into the long light of the early Pamplona morning and the crowds are steadily gathering in anticipation of today’s run. The air is tense; a dark head dips to the ground with nostrils flared and sharp horns pointing at the horizon.

But the San Fermines have altered a little since author Ernest Hemingway watched bulls run the half a mile into the gaping ellipse of the bullring to meet their slow torturous end. The runners on this particular day are less bovine and more babe-like – and their horns are made of plastic.

What’s more, they have exposed their credentials to the frescito of the Pamplona morning and are set to run – naked or virtually naked – the same course that over the following nine days, will be the last journey of so many bulls during the town’s San Fermin fiesta.

The Running of the Nudes is the brainchild of animal rights group PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), which now sees over 1,500 “hotties” (as one overzealous spectator describes them) run through the infamous streets in protest against the gruesome treatment of bulls in Spain.

People started running naked through the streets of Pamplona in 2002, and the bare-faced runners are now made up of 30 different nationalities, who turn out to protest against the bull-runs of Pamplona and bull fighting in general.

It is, claim the organisers, a “fabulously cheeky way to draw attention to a serious issue.” And the atmosphere is buoyant: “Torture is neither art nor culture,” shout the bashless boycotters, while carrying placards saying “Ponte en la piel del toro!” (put yourself in the bull’s skin!)

Bullfighting may be defended as a fundamentally Spanish art-form but it is largely subsidised by foreign tourists. In fact, a few months ago a Gallop survey found 72 per cent of Spaniards have no interest in bullfights.

For Nick Plant, a nude runner from Dorchester, it is the dim-witted tourists who need a wake-up call. He wanted to take part to “heighten awareness for tourists who only see the cruelty and suffering bulls face during a bullfight while watching one – after already having paid for their ticket.

“Even if they walk out, as many do, their money has been spent and the damage done. Instead, they should strip off and party with the Running of the Nudes in a peaceful, sexy, and animal-friendly alternative.”

According to PETA, 40,000 bulls are killed each year in Spain’s bullrings, while 200 horses also die when caught up in the gruesome struggle.

However, attitudes in Spain are beginning to change. Perhaps because of the Catalan region’s proximity to northern Europe, this has been the first part of Spain to move towards banning the blood sport.

The council of Barcelona declared the city an anti-bullfighting zone in 2004, and 38 other Catalan municipalities have followed suit. Thanks to events such as The Running of the Nudes, says PETA, the bullfight is slowly being confined to the history books where it belongs. For all those involved it is a case of “out with the old and in with the nudes!”


  1. Fred – I was clarifying the point that your selective quoting had muddled. I’ve noticed that on other threads you have a tendency to do this to keep an argument going so that it ends up way off the point. You also very quickly resort to insults. In order to not let this thread descend into a slanging match I think it best that we close this discussion now. There are more interesting points worth debating, for instance your assertion that Humans are not designed to eat meat, by which I assume you mean have not evolved to eat meat. I’m not sure that stands up to scrutiny.

  2. Fred
    You are right the Ariel crop spraying in August (the most ineffective method) and the overspray from neighbouring Fincas is a problem. I firstly have no idea what they spew out of that plane or the chemicals the nearby Fincas are using, secondly I cannot stop it.
    I therefore make every effort to minimise the impact. As you are aware by end July early August it is difficult to grow anything here without access to shade houses and many thousands of litres of water. We, therefore, having neither, either stop planting and try to end production ,by default our exposure to the chemicals on our production is diminished.
    I have no idea what the long term effects on the soil are, but I am advised by reading and enquiries that the residual effects on the land are minimal, most of these chemicals are designed to go inert .Not my term the manufacturers and scientists who oversee these products.
    We then like everyone else have to rely on fruit and veg from other sources.
    The point I am trying to make is that at least I have some control over what I produce and eat.
    What checks have you ever made on the fruit and veg you buy?

    Concerning water contamination I have had our 100-meter perforation tested many times and the chemicals in the water are virtually to use the phrase immeasurable, when did you last have your water supply independently tested?

    Fred not only I recognise your style Chris has also mentioned your ability to deviate and provoke .I have said my lot on the subject but to finish
    I do not support bullfighting or fox hunting but respect the views and wishes of others, if there is no support they will both cease.
    If like foxhunting the government try to ban Bullfighting there will be compromises and that will lead to more people becoming interested and attending .basically people do not want to be dictated to and will rebel .This is exactly the situation in Uk with fox hunts now having their largest membership ever.

    I eat meat I have no problem with that but will not be dictated to by others who do not

  3. Dear Chris, I mentioned this point in my previous post. I notionally don’t have any issues with Fred making this point. It can be seen why that proposition exists and it is a proposition that is held in some areas of the scientific community. It’s quite clear that we haven’t evolved as obligate carnivores. We don’t have sharp teeth or powerful jaws in the style of a hyena or a tiger – the tools necessary for consuming raw meet from an animal carcass.

    What I would say is that, unlike some of our cousins in the primate family, modern humans have a digestive system that does allow us to eat meat. Some primates just can’t eat meat, full stop. That is an important point to note.

    I believe the consensus amongst the anthropological community is that, at some point prior to the arrival of the Homo genus, the direct ancestoral line of modern humans included species that were strictly vegetarian, living mainly off fruit like the other great apes that exist today. I also believe that the fossil record suggests that there has been a slow evolution of teeth from being very blunt instruments, suitable only for eating fruit and the like, in pre-Homo species to something slightly sharper (albeit still quite blunt) in early Homo species, suggesting an adaptation towards a more mixed diet. What direction that adaptation has taken in modern humans, I’m not sure.

    What might be more true to say (although by no means hard scientific fact) is that modern humans have evolved to be omnivores – i.e. able, but not necessarily required, to exist on a mixed diet of meat, fruit and vegetables.

    Certainly fruit and vegetables are essential to everbody to get the vitamins and minerals that our body needs. I don’t believe that any human being could last very long on meat alone.

    However, I do go back to my previous point that the argument of whether or not modern man was designed to eat meat is kind of overshadowed by the fact that modern man HAS been eating meat since it first set foot on this planet. Those who are looking to unwind that practice, no matter what their reasons are for this desire, have got one hell of a job on their hands.

    Ending bullfighting, cock fighting, fox hunting, etc look like to me like much more manageable targets.

  4. Chris, I’m not muddled, you are. There’s no selective quoting there – those were just two quotes from you that completely contradict each other. You even ended up agreeing with what I said so why keep arguing the point?

    And the old chestnut about slanging matches and insults won’t wash either since there are no insults on this thread – can you point one out please? People who are losing an argument often restort to saying that the other person is getting insulting or changing the subject etc etc. You need to go back an re-read your own comments and stop calling people “dumb” (an insult if you didn’t notice) when your own argument doesn’t hold water.

    No humans (modern or otherwise) are designed to eat meat. The length of our intestines is not adapted to eating meat and our saliva is not acidic enough either; human stomach acid is somes 20 times weaker than that of a meat-eating animal. Man has evolved almost to his limit anyway, next stop extinction. Btw, man wasn’t designed to sit at a computer all day and answer blog posts, but he often does!

  5. Fred, I take your points about the internal anatomy of humans. But modern humans can eat meat. This contrasts with other animals, some quite closely related to us, that literally cannot eat meat. If they tried to eat meat their digestive systems would reject it, they would become rather ill in the process and, if they continued to try to eat meat, they would die rather quickly. So our digestive system does differ in some way from animals that are strict vegetarians.

  6. Cinico, to respond to your last reply above, I again note you agree with what I what I was saying about contamination. I do not drink tap water or grow vegetables from tap water so I do not need a water test in this respect but my infinity pool is crystal clear so I think it’s ok lol :)

    My style is not to deviate, but I certainly will provoke a good argument where needed, and one has to bring in other related topics for discussion. And yes, bullfighting is related to eating meat since it our overall treatment of animals that is being debated. We need to decondition ourselves and start to respect all animal life, and eating their flesh, guts, brains and just about everything else is not scoring highly on the ethical card. But hey, it’s only my opinion before you wet your pants!

  7. Koba, point taken, and as I have said I agree with you: we can and do eat meat. Bit silly to argue that point! All that I am saying is that on the issue of our anatomy and metabolism, it does look like that we were not originally designed/evolved to eat meat, that’s all. I bet Chris will come back and start arguing that his parents didn’t start his meat-eating habits now lol.

  8. Fred

    From the 22nd June

    “Oh dear Steve, I was beginning to like you and then you reveal that you are complete plonker with your last post.”
    Unprovoked and unnecessary.

    Plus practically your entire reply to Livit’s post from the same day. Also totally unprovoked I might add as Livit had said nothing personal against you (except he disagreed with you!).

    My final words on this subject, I didn’t call you dumb, just your comments. Though in light of your subsequent posts I think I might reconsider that opinion!

  9. According to today’s Guardian on-line (01/07/09) – vegetarians 45% less likely to get blood cancer and 12% less likely to get cancer overall!! Stomach cancer strongly linked to meat eating!! Now, pass me that lettuce!!

  10. Read on Chris i think you are selectivly quoting the bits you like for example did you miss this???
    However, Allen urged caution over the interpretation of the findings. “It is a significant difference, but we should be a bit cautious since it is the first study showing that the risk of cancer of the blood is lower in vegetarians. We need to know what aspect of a fish and vegetarian diet is protecting against cancer. Is it the higher fibre intake, higher intake of fruit and vegetables, is it just meat per se?”
    Did you miss this bit????
    they found the rate of bowel cancer was slightly higher among vegetarians than meat eaters

  11. Cinico, don’t worry about the meat. You’ve got a nice diet of “dusted” vegetables and olive fruit to eat over the summer lol.

    Little meat fact of the day: because our intestines are so long, and not being evolved to digest flesh, meat actually rots in the stomach before it is passed. A lovely thought over that roast dinner. Yum.

  12. Actually Fred, nothing personal, but I’m going to have to disagree with your meat fact of the day. Our distant ancestors, Australopithecines, ate a mainly vegetable diet supplemented by a small amount of lean meat. That was 2.5m years ago which is ample time for Humans to develop a meat eating capacity. If fact we have enzymes in our saliva and in our stomachs to do just that.

    Also, in that time, we have lost the use of our appendix which was primarily used for breaking down cellulose. So we have evolved towards a meat eating lifestyle at the expense of our vegetable processing organ.

    Finally our closest relatives, chimps, are not vegetarian. I think modern health problems arise from the type (fatty, high chlorestorol, processed) of meat and the quantity.

  13. You have been googling hard today Chris. Australopithecus mainly ate fruit, vegetables, and tubers. There is a possibility that later is was an omnivore. According to scientists, there is more scientific evidence of it being a non-flesh eater than a flesh eater. The herbivorous digestive system in us today is enough for me (personally) to accept that we were not primarily evolved to be flesh eaters, but perhaps did so out of necessity. You base your argument on a species that was a herbivore. Great logic there.

    Cinico you let go of reality long ago. Let us help you with these difficult concepts :)

  14. Quiet day at the office Fred. I see you’ve been at Wikipedia too!

    Australopithecus MAINLY ate fruit, vegetables and tubers i.e. with a bit of meat thrown in. Then there’s Homo Erectus, 1-1.8m years ago, thought to be the first hominid to hunt on a large scale. They even ate mammoths! Still time enough to evolve a meat eaters digestive system.

    Indeed it’s thought that access to the superior fats and proteins found in meat is one of the ‘great leaps forward’ in human evolution.

  15. No, very busy here actually thanks. Always got time to come here and keep correcting you Chris ;)

    It is said that they ‘mainly’ ate, but of course noone knows definitievly of course since, well, it was such a long time ago… What we do know, however, is that yards and yards of intestines are not the best of things for digesting flesh and that our original digestive system was evolved from a species of herbivore. I will be de-evolving in 2010 thank goodness…

  16. I don’t refute that we have evolved from herbivores. I contend that we have evolved some capacity to digest meat. Though probably not the fatty processed stuff we eat today and not in the quantities we eat it today. I seem to recall that they analysed bone samples from Australopithecenes and so deduced their diet from the elements contained therein. But, as you say, we don’t really know, we can only infer.

    By the way, don’t be so touchy. My first line was a statement not a question!

  17. Stupid Jur meat quote of the day:

    “without being bred for food and fight they would not live, they would not be there, so in sense we are saving them from not living, giving them reason to exist.”

    We are saving them from not living! lol x infinity

  18. wow at last somebody on this forum has mentioned Bullfighting again – be good to get back to the point.

    The last weeks worth of posts have been a total waste of time considering the subject of the debate about where our stomachs are designed for meat – what exactly has that got to do with the article.

    To the last quote – if you were given the option to live but in 3 years time you were going to be kidnapped and ur head cut off with a penknife – would you take it ?? Im pretty sure most ppl would prefer not to be born if that were the case.

    Remarkable thing to say that mankind is doing Bulls a favour slowly torturing them to death to keep the race going. There are some very odd people in this world.

  19. Bullfighting, meat-eating, breeding animals for slaughter – these are all related topics, namely the apalling treatment of animals on our planet. There are certainly some odd people on here – I exposed a few above lol.

    Repeat after me, we are saving the bull from not living by breeding it in order to kill it.

  20. Fred

    Have you seen the other article on here where the Jcb type machine is chasing the bull around the ring – its all scared and trying to charge the shovel.

    If you read about bullfighting rules they say if the bull wont fight (which it nearly always does as its petrified) they take it away and replace it.

    Well it cant happen very often if they have to try and shove it out the ring with a mechanical excavator as they havent managed to stab it a few times so are all to scared to go near it – cowards.

    Its a good clip as it shows what a sham the whole thing really is.

    Its also good fun to type “bull wins bullfight” into google and watch some of the gorings – there must be 3 matches come up against about 50 million where the bull gets sliced up but well worth a watch.

    I like the one where the poor thing jumps into the crowd and squashes a few of the tossers eating their ice creams.

    My feelings about Bullfighting stem from a holiday in my childhood when my sister and I watched a televised bullfight in a spanish villa. My parents didnt want us to see it but with all the bright colours and costumes we were curious i think anf they gave up trying to put us off the idea.

    I remember it to this day and there are certain songs which remind me of it (for some reason the Erasure song that goes “i dont want to look like some kind of fool” in the chorus – not sure why but i guess its because the bull clearly didnt fancy being the main attraction that day). I couldnt actually believe what i was watching and am scarred for life from watching just 1 bullfight – amazing they actually have 6 bullfights in 1 session – are the crowd actually that sick that they stay to the end?

    I wont visit Spain now, or buy anything spanish, i wont drink Corona or Budweiser as they are involved in sponsoring it. I recently found out that one of my favourite band played in that Las Ventas dump and as a result have mixed feelings about following them which is a real bummer.

    You can tell theres a recession on and im sat here with no work to do cant you.

  21. Your comments about the JCB don’t surprise me Steve, however I think you have taken your Spanish dislikes a bit too far; avoiding an entire country because of a ‘sport’ does not entirely make sense to me. Remember that many people in Spain do not like bullfighting either – not everyone in Spain likes this activity.

    It’s hard to tell if you are busy or not Steve. I am extremely busy and have more work in Spain than I ever did in the UK, but I can still find time to write blog posts during my tea breaks.

  22. more women should protest topless and bottomless everyday for the next 50 years until they get their message across to us…… please ladies, you must defend those poor defenseless toros……….please keep going topless (and bottomless) to make your point….. we are behind you all the way….

  23. there must be always some son of gun…….. from the islands tring to give the rest of the world lessons in animal care and morality , you mothers did not tell you that it is not polite to poke your running noses into other,s bussiness. You will be walkin on a cane and reading articles about how to bann bullfighting in Spain.
    why dont you talk aboutthe killing os a sea mmal that occurred someplace in your holy islands¿

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