MADRID -- A small Spanish town has come under fire for alleged cruelty to animals after a video showing young calves being taunted, stabbed and eventually killed in the town’s festival was much criticized on social media.
The town of Valmojado, located southwest of Madrid, issued a statement Thursday defending the spectacle as a legitimate part of Spain’s bullfighting culture. It said the video had been manipulated and misrepresented the event held earlier this month, which involved at least four calves.
The town also protested the barrage of insults it says it and its residents have received since the video was posted this week by the Spanish animal rights group PACMA.
PACMA, which campaigns for a ban on bullfighting and related events, said it had never witnessed such animal cruelty at a festival.
The video shows young people in a bull ring taunting calves with bull-fighting capes and sticking lances in their backs. It shows how one is stabbed with a sword in matador fashion and another being finished off with a knife, as often happens in professional bullfights.
In its statement, the town hall said it wished to “reiterate our absolute rejection of all types of animal mistreatment,” adding that it was seeking legal advice regarding the insults, which it said “tarnished the good name of Valmojado, its history and traditions.”
Events involving running with and taunting bulls, cows and calves are typical of many Spanish town summer festivals. The most famous is Pamplona’s San Fermin running of the bulls, which attracts tens of thousands of foreign tourists each year.