Warning: This article contains images from the Pamplona festival that some people may find offensive, content warning – blood, animal abuse.
Three men were seriously injured at the infamous running of the bulls in Pamplona over the weekend, two of them were from the USA.
According to regional authorities, a 46-year-old American was in a serious condition after he and two others were gored during the first day of the running of the bulls in the northern Spanish town of Pamplona on Sunday.
The American was in a serious condition after being gored in the neck, said a medical report from the Navarra regional authorities released to the media on Sunday.
Both the other men were gored in the left thigh but their condition was not as serious. The pair were also hospitalised after being suffering wounds during the bull run, one of the most crowded events of the week-long San Fermin festival.
Three more people, all Spaniards and aged between 18 and 38, were also hurt during the crowded run through the streets.
The Red Cross in Spain had warned that the event would be especially dangerous because of the large number of people.
Animal rights groups have long opposed the event given that it is a precursor to the ultra-violent bullfights of the afternoon.
“Supporting the bull runs is the same as supporting bullfighting, as the same bulls that run in the mornings will later be tortured and killed in the bullring,” Aida Gascon, spokesperson for AnimalNaturalis, said.
On each morning of the festival, at eight o’clock, six bulls are released from a corral to run through the narrow, cobbled streets of the old town.
Hundreds of people dressed in white shirts and red scarfs, try to run ahead of bulls to the city’s bull ring, where the animals are killed by matadors in afternoon bullfights.
Sunday’s run was relatively quick, with the bulls reaching the ring in two minutes and 41 seconds, covering the 848 metres (925 yards) through Pamplona’s narrow streets to the designated spot in a flash.
The week-long festival also involves religious processions, concerts and all-night drinking, and attracts thousands of visitors from around the world.
Bullfights and bull runs are a traditional part of summer festivals across Spain, however, opposition to such events is growing.
Anyone over the age of 18 can take part in Pamplona runs though authorities warn of the risks. Since 1911, 16 people have been killed in the event. The last death was in 2009.
Peta have called for the banning of all bullfighting and bull running worldwide.
“Young bulls who have had very little contact with humans are transported to Pamplona on a long and stressful journey,” the organisation wrote in a recent petition.
“The festival organisers confine them to a small pen for several days. Then, they release them into a noisy, chaotic mob of people – mostly tourists – who chase the terrified animals through the narrow streets of the city.”
The San Fermin festival and the running of the bulls was immortalised in Ernest Hemingway’s 1926 novel “The Sun Also Rises”.