Live bull set on fire in ‘barbaric’ festival secretly filmed by protesters (GRAPHIC VIDEO)

© PACMA TV
Animal welfare activists have released footage of a heavily policed Spanish festival in which a live bull is caked in mud and set alight.

The Toro de Jubilo (Joy of the Bull) tradition, dating back at least 400 years, takes place in the Spanish village of Medinaceli, about 160km (100 miles) north-east of Madrid.

WARNING: GRAPHIC VIDEO

During the event, a bull is forcibly tied to a post as lumps of flammable tar are spread on its horns. The tar is then set on fire and the terrified animal released, thrashing around the square while spectators cheer and blow horns. Afterwards the bull is taken to a slaughterhouse and killed.

This year’s festival attracted a large group of protesters and a huge police presence to the small village. Footage shows police in riot gear acting as a cordon between demonstrators and spectators.

Pacma, Spain’s animal rights party, said that strong security measures meant only people with invitations were allowed into the square where the burning took place and no protesters or journalists were admitted. However, some activists still managed to record footage of the event.

Footage shows him struggling desperately to knock the flaming balls of pitch from his head as onlookers cheer and taunt. Activists could be heard shouting “shame,”“murderers,” and “the scum of Spain.”

Pacma said the animal was likely blinded by the intensity of the flames above its head as well as suffering intense stress throughout the episode.

The mayor of Medinaceli, Felipe Utrilla, defended the tradition, telling Publico that “the celebration is for the people and the people will have to decide whether to make any changes.”