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Running with the bulls: Defying death!

July 11, 2019 08:28 IST

One of the most controversial animal festivals in the world is underway in Pamplona, Spain.

Welcome to the Running of the Bulls festival held each year in Spain for nine days.

The nine day festival started on July 7 and lasts a week until Sunday, July 14. During this time, bull runs and bull fights will take place, with an opening and closing ceremony taking place either side of the festival. Photograph: Susana Vera/Reuters
 

Revellers sprint in front of bulls and steers during the running of the bulls at the San Fermin festival in Pamplona, Spain. The festival is 427 years old and is held in honour of the patron saint of Spain’s northern Navarra region -- San Fermin. Photograph: Jon Nazca/Reuters

Revellers along a bull before the running of the bulls at the San Fermin festival in Pamplona, Spain. Hundreds of runners with varying degrees of fitness and scant sleep the night before race ahead of or next to the bulls charging through Pamplona’s cobblestone streets to the city’s bullring. Photograph: Susana Vera/Reuters

Either you run or cower and down and pray that the bull doesn't trample over you. Photograph: Susana Vera/Reuters

Despite the risks of being gored to death, the festival still attracts thousands of people -- many of them thrill-seekers, hoping to cross off this adventure off their bucket list. Photograph: Jon Nazca/Reuters

A reveller is tossed by a wild cow in the bull ring after the running of the bulls at the San Fermin festival. Photograph: Susana Vera/Reuters

During the festival, Pamplona’s population swells from 200,000 to around 1.2 million, with visitors attracted by the adrenaline boost of bull runs along the 850-metre course -- and the serious partying. Photograph: Susana Vera/Reuters

Protests by animal rights groups have become a fixture in Pamplona in recent years. Activists say they see the festival as animal cruelty for the sake of human entertainment. Photograph: Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images

The event traces its origins to the heyday of bullfighting when animals reared for the purpose in the countryside would be brought to the city and children would leap into their path to show off to one another and boast of their bravery. Photograph: Susana Vera/Reuters

There have been 15 deaths since 1910, with 13 Spaniards, one American and one Mexican killed, the majority as a result of goring. While an attack by a bull is not always fatal, the threat of tripping on slippery cobbled lanes or being cornered is real and injuries are commonplace, with anywhere between 50 and 100 taking place every year. Photograph: Susana Vera/Reuters
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