Police in the Spanish city of Pamplona are looking for a man who took a selfie while particpating in the annual Running of the Bulls on Friday. The man could soon find himself facing a fine of $4,100 (€3,000). Authorities passed a law earlier this year stating that taking photos or filming during the Running of the Bulls could put people’s lives at risk, and that anyone who does so would be fined.
The nine-day San Fermin festival prominently features a Running of the Bulls on each day, followed by bullfights. The event is notoriously dangerous. On Sunday, four people were injured during the Running of the Bulls, while on Wednesday, an American expert on the event was gored. Bill Hillmann, the 32-year-old co-author of the book Fiesta: How to Survive the Bulls of Pamplona, barely lived up the title of his work. His wound has been estimated at around 15-20 centimeters in size.
It has been a “sh**ty fiesta” thus far, Hillman said after being hospitalized. The Chicago native has been running with the bulls for about a decade. Even after his injury, Hillman described being gored as “just part of the run,” and said that all the great runners had experienced it at some point. Hillman’s co-author, Alexander Fiske-Harrison, said that the wound was clean in the sense that the bull did not hit a bone or an artery. Fiske-Harrison characterized it as an “honorable wound.”
Hillman said that he was pushed by another runner, and that this was what led to his goring. Pamplona police looking for the man who took a selfie while running with the bulls can point to Hillman’s case as an example of the dangers inherent in another runner carelessly taking part in the event.
In spite of his injuries, Hillman said that he would still take part in next year’s festival. Another Running of the Bulls participant, on the other hand, was not so cheery after being injured in the event. British photographer Tom Hadfield was trampled while taking part in the event on Tuesday and hospitalized with a punctured lung and four fractured ribs. He described the pain as agonizing. Hadfield, a self-described adrenaline junkie, took part in the annual Spanish festival last year as well, but made it through unscathed. Following his injuries, he said that it was likely he would not participate in the Running of the Bulls next year.
In 1924, officials began taking a record of the deaths and injuries caused by the Running of the Bulls. Since then, 15 people have been killed in the event, while thousands have been injured. According to Pamplona municipal officials, the annual celebration drew approximately 1.5 million people to the city last year. In addition to the Running of the Bulls, the San Fermin festival also features parades, concerts, children’s activities and religious events.
Animal rights activists have repeatedly denounced both the Pamplona event and bullfighting in general as acts of cruelty toward the animals. They claim that the Running of the Bulls owes much of its popularity to the fact that people do not understand that the event ends in the deaths of the bulls at the hands of the matadors.
As police in Pamplona continue to look for the man who took a selfie during the Running of the Bulls, the festival itself has already begun to wind down. Monday is the last day of the annual event, leaving authorities facing a looming deadline in their efforts to catch the culprit.
By Yitzchak Besser