On September 5, I wrote a column about a proposed event called Running with the Bulls and what a stupid idea it was.
As I look at their website today, there’s been some changes. COX is no longer a sponsor and the Youtube link comes up blank. Apparently, there’s a Run for Charity as part of the event but no specific charity or charities is/are listed. Perhaps an animal cruelty charity would be appropriate?
The waiver reads:
RUNNING OF THE BULLS
Participation and Liability Waiver Agreement
CAUTION: Please read and understand fully all of the following provisions of this Participation and Release from Liability Agreement and so indicate, by initialing the provisions, in the space provided. By signing this agreement you are giving up the right to sue Running of the Bulls America, LLC, The Champion Group, Inc., Town of Cave Creek, TC Thorstenston (land owner), and all related sponsors, exhibitors and vendors for any and all damages, claims, personal injuries or death you may suffer as a result of your participation in that event and activity known as the “Running of the Bulls”, or with any other activity associated with or provided in connection with the “Running of the Bulls” event in Cave Creek October 14 & 15, 2011.
WARNING: This activity and your participation in that activity can cause serious injury or even death, and you hereby agree to assume all risks related thereto.
The promoters of the event Running of the Bulls USA provided Tucson Citizen with the following press release: (Their capitalization not mine; my comments are in italics within their press release.)
“For Immediate Release September 9, 2011
TO CLEAR UP CONTROVERSIAL RUMORS
While Running of the Bulls USA agrees with PETA that the bull runs in Pamplona, Spain, may be harmful and unfair to the running animals, the Americanized version brings a fun, safe festival for everyone to enjoy. The Rodeo bulls used for the event will be protected by law (Which law?) from any type of harassment or maltreatment and will even have their own 24-hour security to ensure their safety. Although not expected, any type of maltreatment from runners or spectators is unacceptable and will be punishable by law (Which law?). Running of the Bulls USA would like to stress that the participating bulls are
rodeo bulls that are used for several events each year. They will not be physically bound or harmed in any way during the festivities or thereafter. The bulls are not prodded, shocked or harmed to scare them to run. They are followed by men on horseback and encouraged to run, much like when they are herded in the wild. The image of cruelty displayed towards the bulls by this festival is completely inaccurate and it is important to Running of the Bulls USA to clear up any misunderstandings before the festivities commence.
THIS IS AN ACTION-PACKED, FUN-FILLED FESTIVAL FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY! (Watch daddy maybe get trampled.)
Running of the Bulls USA is a well-rounded festival that boasts music, food, dancing, entertainment and, of course, running with the bulls! The weekend will present an opportunity to mark off a bucket list item or just come watch and join in on the other activities*.”
Running of the Bulls in America has occurred only three times – 1998 & 1999 in Mesquite, NV and2002 in Scottsdale, AZ. Ten thousand spectators and 800 runners attended each event. Out of all three events, only one person has been injured as a result of the bull run (What kind of injury?), showing that despite negative commentary from protestors, this event does not have a track record of being unsafe or harmful to the bulls or the runners. (Note to self – see liability waiver)
We are open to debates and discussions on this controversial topic!”
You must watch this clip. It’s from the Today Show in 1998. A younger Matt Lauer interviews the event’s promotor Phil Immordino (whose glasses have an odd reflection) and (a fresh-faced) Wayne Pacelle from the Humane Society of the United States. Pacelle calls Immordino a snake oil salesman peddling this event across the country until someone bought it (Did this event put Mesquite, Nevada on the map?). Immordino swears that the event is safe. (Note to self – see liability waiver)
On September 12, another press release comes from the promoters of Running of the Bulls
“Peta Starts Petition to Stop Bull Run
Cave Creek , AZ – Peta is trying to stop the Running of the Bulls Festival to be held in Cave Creek, AZ Oct 14, 15 & 16, 2011, which was approved by the Town of Cave Creek. (See attached letter).
Peta has launched an all out war by having their followers send thousands of emails and posts to the Running of the Bulls Facebook page with negative and threatening comments.
Wayne Jensen writes, “Bullfighting, the running of the bulls and blood fiestas are all forms of animal torture which are carried out in the name of ‘tradition’ or ‘religion’. They are totally unacceptable and anyone who chooses to participate in the running of the bulls is risking injury or death and does not deserve an ounce of sympathy should they suffer either.
To date they have over 1700 signatures that they are trying to convince Mayor of Cave Creek to stop the Bull Run.
The Mayor of Cave Creek, AZ Vincent Francia says, “We are excited to have the Running of the Bulls Festival come to our town, it fits Cave Creek perfectly. It has given Cave Creek tons of media coverage and will bring business to our town.”
Peta writes to Mayor and Town Council:
“We hope this letter finds you all well. PETA is an international animal protection organization with more than 2 million members and supporters globally. Our office has received calls of concern regarding Cave Creek’s plans to host a “Running of the Bulls” event on October 14 and 15. We are writing today to request that you rethink this event, for the sake of the safety and welfare of both the people and animals involved.
Worldwide condemnation of the annual—and most well-known – Running of the Bulls” in Pamplona, Spain is growing because it is cruel to animals and dangerous for people. While we understand that there are some fundamental differences between the proposed Cave Creek event and that which takes place in Pamplona annually, we believe that the basic liabilities at play can be illustrated by the fact that 200-300 people are injured in the latter event each year. Thousands of people have been hurt, some fatally, after falling, getting stuck in pile-ups, being trampled or gored. In 2009, a participant died after a bull’s horn penetrated his neck and lung. At the proposed Cave Creek event, panicked bulls who weigh up to 1,500 lbs will clamber through the “courses” where they can injure each other, crash into the sides of barriers, and seriously harm participants and bystanders.
Due to liability and condemnation, the company who is organizing the event in Cave Creek has been unable to find a host city since 2002. We know that Cave Creek can hold successful alternative events that don’t put tourists and residents, and animals, at risk. On behalf of our complainants and our thousands of members in Arizona, we thank you for your consideration. May we hear from you soon?
(their spelling not mine)
“Running of the Bulls Policy – The bulls are teh starts of teh show. They are treated like rolayity. (How?) They love this and out getting a little excercise. No harm will come to teh bulls, writes Phil Immordino Promoter of the Running of teh Bulsl Festival.”
Is there such a thing as bad publicity? I think not. All this negative publicity is probably helping fuel ticket sales and egg on the reckless bravado of 20 to 30-something males who are in search of that elusive legal adrenaline rush.
I have to wonder why it’s been 9 years since the last bull run. Maybe the economy wasn’t bad enough for a city or town to take on the risk. How’s the housing market in Cave Creek?
It still sounds like bull to me.
Here’s a tentative event schedule.
If you go run with the bulls or are a spectator, email email@example.com and provide us with an update. Be safe.