Encierro: The 2012 Running Of The Bulls

Encierro: The 2012 Running Of The Bulls

A time honored tradition in Spain, the running of the bulls or Encierro  has only three days left until it wraps on July 14th. The seven day festival of San Fermín in Pamplona is the largest and most popular of the Encierros. Several thousand people attend the runs, causing the passageways to be very cramped. I would imagine that photographers covering the event have little or no room to move. Below are a few amazing shots taken in the past few days. Six bulls usually accompanied by a guiding steer are released into a  narrow pathway in the streets that then flow into the bullring. So far this year only six people have been injured (all minor).



Above image: [Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images]


While I myself do not condone violence toward animals, it is interesting to see how other photographers cover an event steeped in so much tradition and pride. Would you risk being gored by a 1320 pound bull just to get that one perfect shot?

 [Reuters/Susana Vera]

 [AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos]

  [AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos]

 [AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza]

  [Pedro Armestre/AFP/Getty Images]

 [Reuters/Joseba Etxaburu]

  [AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos]

  [Ander Gillenea/AFP/Getty Images]

  [Reuters/Joseba Etxaburu]

  [AP PhotoAlvaro Barrientos]

You can view the rest of the photos here: Running of the Bulls 2012

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I am no animal-rights activist by any stretch of the imagination... but that second to last image just really breaks my heart. Super cruel, if you ask me. 

Rebecca Britt's picture

I feel the same way. I am not a huge animal-rights activist either, but I think it is a disturbing image to those of us not use to seeing that. I suppose to them it's perfectly normal. Although, I did read that the younger generations are rallying together to try to end bullfighting and their numbers are growing. 

Hail Sagan's picture

Where do you think hamburgers and delicious steak come from? As you can see in the final photo, there is a huge respect for the bull. The history of bull fighting is far less cruel to animals than the Make-up/Pharmaceutical industry, GMO food industry, and corporate-govt subsidized farm industry we love so much in the USA.

VEGAN is the way to go :)

Utterly stupid.

If we didn't not kill animal, dissect them and LEARNED their physionomy we would not know half as much as we do abou our own. How do you expect kids to learn about biology, glands, lungs and other internal organs if not by direct pratice?

Yes a vegan diet makes MUCH sens on a energy basis (why feed grains to an animal then eat it when you can directly eat the grains) but it is UTOPIC and litteraly impossible (even in the best case scenario) to eliminate ALL animal exploitation...

I'm not saying you are stupid, just that this hole new religion makes no sens in real world living.

i'm sure Simon that's what they're doing in that second to last pic, learning biology....idiot

Oh come on, that argument is weaker than the Greek economy.

I could go into how that bull in the image above could give a rat's arse about respect. I could go on about all it cares about are the knives hanging out of its back, soaked in its own blood and the agony its in. I could go on about how it's only killed for sport/fun/blood-lust. I could go on about how animals killed for food are killed relatively painlessly and quickly (or should be).

But I really don't want to get into a flame war about whether killing animals for food is right or wrong, etc. And it just saddens me too much.

I love hamburgers and steaks, I do, I do; I don't think that makes me a hypocrite at all, though. The idea in eating meat is not to kill an animal for sport, or for fun. I guess this same argument could be had for hunting and fishing.

It's a fine line, I think; at the very least, a controversial line. 

Adrián Goig Serrano's picture

 I'm Spanish and I am in agreement with you. It is a Super cruel show. I hate it.

Not a fan of this post guys!

christian lacasse's picture

Anyone has ever seen the "piston" used in meat making factories, where bulls get greeted before ending in a grocery display packaging? (source: Food Inc. movie) Not much better but america's gotta eat. This being said, I DON'T like the second last one either. Nor do I like "hiding" shots the truly represents what any event is really like...

Certainly a controversial subject. I think every place has it's controversial traditions, but in Spain we have some very strong and colorfull ones. The thing with these is that they're part of a culture, packed with pride and have been honored for a long time. Times change and our relationship with the animal world changes too, and these traditions are left in a difficult place, you can't easily change something that's so very essential to a lot of people's identity. Those changes take time, it's necessary for a lot of people to change their view and start having doubts about what was never before questioned.
Consider for example beauty contests for little girls that are so common in america, they're considered atrocious by most people here. These subjects are never as simple as they look from the outside.
From the photographic point of view, these images take us inside and let us have a closer perspective to this event, and for that they are good.

Well I'm not an activist in any way either, and I really enjoy my steaks rare.... but that 2nd to last image is way more then I cared to see as well. I really just hope that, that bull gave'em hell before going down and taking its last breath, poor guy. I hope he gave the horns to many. Its overall barbaric and unfair.

Arturo Mieussens - Most people in the US think those toddler 'beauty' pageants are pretty atrocious too. In fact I only know one person that participated in those and I seriously question her judgement. Every culture has things that some think are wonderful yet most of the culture despises. What those things are will change with time but there will ALWAYS be something. 
As to the second to last image THAT is the awesome power of photography. That one image can cause an uprising for better or worse. (Hopefully for better.)

Well, some people must like them because they exist. Here I couldn't find one if I wanted.
Times change, let's hope it's for the better.

Im from Spain, and i must say that i dont like the bullfights, the
prohibition was seriosly debated in our country but the discussión
always takes to an impasse. Its true that its a cruel end to this
impressive animal, possibly the most powerful animal on earth. The ancient Romans, rejected even include the bulls in their shows. Against lions, tigers, elephants even ... the fight lasted very little time to entertain them, always the same winner.....
Moreover, this kind of bull, direct descendant of the extinct Uro,ancestor of all domestic cattle, dont exist in the wild nature. Maintenance
of this animals are expensive and the only thing that allow the spanish
brave bull existence is the bullfights. Its an economic fact, without
the bullfight, this animal would dissapear.So an activist can´t say that the bullfights should be prohibited, without assessing the consequences, in this case, the extinction.
At least these bulls, live their entire lives in large pastures, in nature, in complete freedom whit great care from their owners. We should review the way we treat all the animals we eat, subjecting them to a life of constant torture in our extensive farms around the world. One thing does not excuse the other, but it is a fact that must be taken into account.The "encierro" itself its another matter. This is a race of bulls and men, where it is forbidden even to touch or grab the bull.  Throughout my life have seen many people die running with the bulls, is not a game. And should not be confused whit the bullfights, where the "matador" ends up killing the animal.I think the "fiesta" should be reformed, to reach a compromise, keeping the show without killing the animal in a cruel way. An end without death.