October 09, 2008
BRUSSELS - Semi-naked animal rights activists staged a fake-bloody protest outside the European Parliament on Thursday to draw attention to the suffering of bulls during bullfights.
Around 30 people taking part in the protest organized by PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) lay on the ground with banderillas, the traditional darts used to wound and weaken bulls in the fight, attached to their backs, some spattered with fake blood.
Bullfighting - ever popular in Spain - and the European Union's lack of action to stop the practice, have long raised the hackles of animal rights activists in Europe and the debate has increased in recent years.
Last year several European Parliament lawmakers published a declaration which severely criticized bullfights and demanded that the European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, ban them in Europe.
The pro-bullfighting group Mesa del Toro responded at the time that the spectacle was a "European heritage" and that the European Commission did not have the authority to ban a "cultural and traditional" activity which has been held for centuries in Spain.
PETA animal rights activists demonstrate naked and speared with banderillas, the traditional darts used to wound, weaken and eventually kill bulls in bullfights, in their fight against the EU's cash support for bullfights at its headquarters in Brussels on Oct. 9.
Photograph by : john Thys/AFP/Getty Images