A group of activists demonstrated outside the redondel (bull ring) in Zapote today, protesting against the mistreatment of the bulls in the traditional year end bullfighting activities.

Four different groups – ViVa Veg, Animals Con Voz, Frente de Resistencia Animal y de la Tierra and 269 Life – came together in protest, saying the bulls are victimized at the expense of public entertainment.

The group said they will be out in protest again on January 5.

Costa Rica’s Bullfighting Tradition

Unlike other bullfighting events around the globe, where bullfighting is sometimes a fight to the death, in Costa Rica the bulls with the fight and no one dies. Often the bullfighters end up with bumps and bruises, as they literally run in front of  and then run away from the bulls.

nildoracasIn Costa Rica the tradition of bullfighting – a staple in most of the annual fairs between December and March that are held in most Costa Rican towns – began as a diversion for as bull riders – not matadors – managed to remain on top. But the bulls reign supreme, some, like Malacrianza (Badass), have even have become celebrities in their own right.

The tradition of bullfighting in Costa Rica is more about “bragging rights”, riders paying to enter the ring and run in front of the bulls or to ride them until the are thrown off by the animal.

The riders are called “improvisados” (improvisors) or amateurs. There are no spears and contact with the bull is usually the bull horning the rider.

In Costa Rica bullfighting there is only rule – although the bull may kill you, no one kills the bull.