An Open Letter to Señor Grimalt (The Mayor of Dénia)

Para español, haga clic aquí.

To give some background… I, The Crumby Vegan, am a member of the association Bous en Pau (translated as Bulls in Peace) in Dénia, Spain. Our association aims to end the mistreatment of animals in Dénia. 


Dear Señor Grimalt,

For several years we (Bous en Pau) have tried to speak with you regarding Bous a la Mar and you have ignored our plea each time. So we hope to get your attention this way…

You see, Señor Grimalt, we want to discuss something that you said. You know, that time when you said you would be the first one to oppose Bous a la Mar if you thought it was animal cruelty… 

On the 28th of November 2017 you were recorded saying (roughly translated into English)

I don’t think that Bous a la Mar is an example of animal mistreatment, evidently, if they were free in the countryside it’d be better for them, but they are traditions and if we were truly convinced that there was animal cruelty in Bous a la Mar… I’d be the first one to be against it.

Let’s run through the event: The animals are kept crammed in a truck in sweltering heat (this year reached 35º) next to a concert for at least an hour before the event (that’s pretty cruel). The truck door is then lifted and if the animals don’t leave voluntarily they are tasered (also very cruel, video). The animals are then released on to the main road. Eventually they reach the arena where they are made to enter one by one. Participants taunt the animal (this sounds cruel) until it eventually leaps or falls into the water (pretty cruel). Then the animal is dragged out of the water with a rope around it’s neck (very cruel). 

This sounds like so much fun. I wish I were a bull!

The event seems pretty cruel to me, but maybe my opinion doesn’t count because I’m not an expert, so let’s ask an expert… In a document produced by PACMA, veterinarians Alfonso Senovilla Labrador and Virginia Iniesta Orozco say (roughly translated):

During the entry into the sea, or whilst being dragged to the surface, the entry of water through the nostrils can produce animals pneumonia by aspiration. In addition, drowning is common during these festivities, either when the animals collide with obstacles before falling into the water, or even by cardiac arrest caused by the tremendous stress they suffer.

Notice the word ‘suffer‘, Señor Grimalt, is that cruel enough yet? 

The vets were right in their statement above. Two bulls have drowned during the Bous a la Mar event in Dénia: In 2012 a bull died after suffering a heart attack during the event (a video of the death is here) and in 2014 a bull died after getting tangled in one of the participant’s clothing. These are the deaths that happened within the arena. We are unaware of the number of animals that have died after Bous a la Mar as a consequence of being forced to take part. 

But death doesn’t count as cruelty, does it Señor Grimalt?

Señor Grimalt, in your answer above you justify Bous a la Mar by claiming that it is a tradition. However tradition can justify nothing. Female circumcision is still a tradition in many countries, do you support the mutilation of female genitalia because it is a tradition?

I’m sure a smart man like yourself does not 😉 

So why do you continue to throw money at a tradition promoting aggression, violence, cruelty to animals and harm to humans? 

Every year Dénia pays a huge amount of money to be cruel to animals. In 2017 Dénia paid €89,560.85 for Bous a la Mar, they received €42,133.98 in revenue and therefore made a huge loss of -€47,426.87. In 2018 Dénia paid €87,220.56 for Bous a la Mar to take place. From that event, they received €40,667.00 and made another huge loss of -€46,553.56.

Such a huge portion of Dénia’s budget incentivises animal cruelty, when instead this money could be invested in cultural activities that could be far more beneficial to Dénia. This money could be invested in many of the beautiful features of Dénia like El Montgó, the coast line (as proposed on Participa Dénia) or even better we could invest in the education for children (and teach them not to be cruel to animals). 

I’m certain that an extra €47,000 per year could make a very positive impact to the residents of Dénia. 

Now given the points above, please may we consider an alternative?

There are several examples of very popular alternatives to bull runs (giant balls and people in inflatable bull costumes to name a few) that towns are now implementing. We don’t want to abolish Bous a la Mar, we just want to tweak it. 

Every year there is a protest against Bous a la Mar in Dénia and each year it gets bigger. This year over 200 people protested animal cruelty in Dénia. However, now we’ve established that Bous a la Mar is cruel to the animals there will be no reason to protest next year, as you will clearly be against the event because you are an honourable man and would not lie, right Señor Grimalt?

We hope to hear from you soon. 


Bous en Pau

41 thoughts on “An Open Letter to Señor Grimalt (The Mayor of Dénia)

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