The festival of San Fermín has been celebrated in the city of Pamplona for hundreds of years. The celebration is held annually from midday 6 July to midnight 14 July. Its most famous event is the running of the bulls, held from 8:00am every day between 7 July and 14 July.
Almost 20 people have been injured so far this year since the festival started on Monday, five by bull horns.
The five men gored were four Spaniards and one American, the co-author of the book ‘Fiesta: How to Survive the Bulls of Pamplona’. Only one Spaniard was said to be in serious condition.
Every year, between 200 and 300 people are injured during the runs of the 800,000 people the festival attracts. Most injuries are not serious and are caused by falls while running alongside six terrified bulls and nine oxen through the 825-meter course from a holding pen to Pamplona’s bullring.
The runs take approximately 3 minutes. The bulls are then kept in the bullring waiting for the afternoon bullfight where they are slowly stabbed to death.
After the end of the run, young cows with wrapped horns are released in the bullring and toss the participants, to the amusement of the crowd.
Fifteen people have died from being gored in the runs since record-keeping began in 1924.
Running of the bulls are also held in Portugal, France, Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela, Costa Rica and the United States.
Although surveys show that vast majorities are against bullfighting, the practice is still legal and practiced in Portugal, France, Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela, Costa Rica and the Philippines.
Spain even declared bullfighting a Cultural Heritage in November 2013, with only the support of the Popular Party.