Animal rights activists voice concern about Minnesota bull run
The Great Bull Run is bringing its version of Spain's Running of the Bulls to Minnesota for the first time this summer, and animal rights activists aren't happy about it.
The goal of the event is for participants to out-sprint 18 angry bulls over a quarter-mile course. More than 2,000 people have already signed up for the $60-$75 event, which is scheduled to take place in Elk River's Extreme Motor Park on June 21.
A bull run was planned in Canterbury Park last year, but was cancelled due to safety concerns after a bull got loose at the Dakota County Fair, the Star Tribune reports.
Rob Dickens, a former Wall Street attorney who started the Great Bull Run company with Brad Scudder, his friend from law school, told the Star Tribune that bull runs are supposed to be dangerous.
"Running with bulls is inherently dangerous and runners don't want it to be safe," Dickens said. "Danger gives a sense of accomplishment when [the run is] done."
Still, Dickens and his partner assure participants that running with bulls isn't as dangerous as it sounds and that only 15 people have died in the last 105 years of runs.
"Plus, unlike the running of the bulls in Spain, our bulls aren't killed after the event or otherwise abused in order to make them run," they write on their website. "We don't hit them, shock them, or deprive them of food, water, light, or sleep. In fact, we've taken numerous measures to ensure our bulls remain safe and healthy at all times."
Additionally, the bulls run on grass and dirt, rather than on city streets, and a veterinarian is always on site.
But some are still concerned about the safety of the bulls. PETA recently launched a campaign against the Great Bull Run, urging venues (including the Extreme Motor Park in Elk River) to drop the event.
"There is no way to be sure that these animals won't suffer or become injured at these events. After having been loaded onto trucks, potentially driven hundreds of miles, and herded into an arena filled with screaming people, the bulls will run in panic as they are chased by horses through a rowdy crowd. As they rush through the course, they can crash into the barriers, fall and break their legs, or collide with and injure each other," they wrote.
PETA proposes hosting animal-free events instead, citing an event in New Orleans in which the local roller derby team chases participants down a track as an example. Alternatively, they suggest dressing humans in bull costumes for a "fun, family-friendly event that does not put animals in harm's way."
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