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Court Says OK to Proceed with ALDF, PETA Lawsuit to Stop Illegal California Bull Runs
SAN FRANCISCO — Last week, the national nonprofits Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) moved closer toward shutting down Pamplona-style “Great Bull Runs” in California when the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California denied a motion to dismiss their lawsuit. Great Bull Run events are currently scheduled to take place in Northern and Southern California—on July 26 at the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Northern California and on November 8 in Southern California. On June 6, the court held that the case against Great Bull Run and the Lone Star Rodeo, who puts on these events, could move forward. According to the lawsuit, these events violate California’s anti-cruelty law and Unfair Competition Law.
California bans the promotion and exhibition of bulls in “bloodless bullfights.” Bull runs also violate California’s Penal Code by subjecting the animals to needless suffering. During the events, as many as three dozen panicked bulls are chased by riders on horseback down a narrow track filled with hundreds of people—many of whom have been drinking alcohol. The bulls run at speeds of up to 35 miles per hour, and during the chaos, the animals can trample runners, crash into barriers, or fall and break their own legs trying to get away. Previous events have sent participants to the hospital. Organizers have repeatedly failed to secure a location for their Southern California event: The city of Lake Elsinore and Riverside County each refused to grant necessary permits for the event, out of concern for public safety. ALDF and PETA are asking the court to stop the scheduled California events and are represented by in-house counsel and the law firm Evans & Page.
“We will move forward to shut down these illegal, dangerous, and cruel excuses for a sport,” said Stephen Wells, executive director of the Animal Legal Defense Fund. “Cheap thrills that break the law and come at the expense of animal welfare will not be tolerated by California citizens.”
“The ‘Great Bull Run’ isn’t just cruel to the bulls who flee in terror surrounded by a rowdy crowd—it’s also clearly prohibited by California law,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders. “This dangerous event has already been turned away by other authorities throughout the state, and our lawsuit will make sure that it’s grounded everywhere in California.”
Copies of the complaint are available by request.
ALDF was founded in 1979 with the unique mission of protecting the lives and advancing the interests of animals through the legal system. For more information, please visit aldf.org.
Founded in 1980, PETA is the largest animal rights organization in the world, with more than 3 million members and supporters. PETA works through public education, cruelty investigations, celebrity involvement, protest campaigns, and more to spread the message that animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, use for entertainment, or to abuse in any other way. For more information, please visit PETA.org.
June 9, 2014