Bull survives gory Spain festival thanks to cops, activists

MADRID -- A small group of local people and anti-bullfighting activists scuffled and exchanged insults Tuesday at a centuries-old Spanish festival where for the first time the gory killing of a bull was banned.

Mounted police intervened before hundreds of people ran alongside a lone bull and taunted it in the town of Tordesillas, 120 miles northwest of Madrid.

Men on horseback and on foot have traditionally chased the bull across fields and through forests before spearing it to death in an open field before thousands of onlookers in what was one of Spain’s goriest spectacles. Organizers say the tradition dates from the 14th century.

But amid increasing protests by animal rights activists, the regional government last year banned the killing of bulls at town festivals​, though traditional bullfights in bullrings were not affected.

A heavy police presence ensured the bull was spared from spearing, and a heavy rain cut short the event.