San Fermin Festival
A dead bull is dragged away following a bullfight by Rejoneadores (bullfighters on horseback) at the San Fermin Festival in Pamplona July 6, 2011. The annual festival, best known for its daily running of the bulls, kicked off on Wednesday with the traditional "Chupinazo" rocket launch and will run until July 14. Reuters

A fighting bull skewered an Australian tourist in the leg at Spain's San Fermin fiesta in Pamplona. Organizers said he was reckless.

Here the race is different. The runners run about 50 meters ahead of the bulls before getting out of their way. Four more runners were also injured in the inaugural bull run on Thursday, which came into prominence worldwide by Ernest Hemingway's 1926 novel The Sun Also Rises.

The organizers are hopeful to cash in on the event to the hilt. They have, in fact, launched a free iPhone app in English to help revelers to assess their chances of safety exit from the bull runs. It asks users about their behaviour at the festival, including how much they have had to drink and how many hours of sleep they have had.

Held every year in July, it lures more than a million tourists with hotel occupancy rate peaking at 95 percent. More than 200 participants in the run are usually injured. In 2009, a bull gored a 27-year-old Spaniard to death, piercing his heart and lungs with its horns in front of thousands of tourists.

Much to the chagrin of organizers, animal lovers allege inhuman treatment to the animals. In fact, the fate of a bull is sealed much before it enters the fighting arena, they say.

Bull Fighting:

The bull is kept in dark for hours or applied gel in its eyes to impair its vision under the bright light in the afternoon when it enters the ring. No food or water is provided to the bull and often drugged and stabbed in the back before releasing him into the fighting arena.

Once the bull is in the arena, picadors or men on horses torment the animal with pics into its neck muscles, causing heavy bleeding and weakening the animal. The bunderillos on foot enter the arena next with barbed sticks which he places in the bull's shoulders. They continue to move and dig into the body so that it causes bleeding and tissue damage and sometimes the animal may even suffer internal bleeding.

Finally enters the matador to fight the weakened bull and his antics to taunt the bull excite the spectators. He attempts a clean kill or goal piercing his sword into the aorta. In some cases a ring assistant cuts the bull's spinal cord to paralyze the animal. A defeated bull is then tied to two horses, his ears carved off as trophies and dragged out of the ring.

Spain, Mexico, some places in Europe and the United States sill have bull fighting to as a tourist attraction and the culprits are, of course, the spectators.

Dog Fighting

Though officially banned in the United States, illegal dog fighting remains a pervasive sport in many cities. Dogs are forced to fight until one or more dogs are dead and spectators keep prodding and hitting them with sharp objects to continue fighting.

They are trained with a cruel regimen from the beginning and starved to make them tough. They are tied with heavy chains around the neck to increase muscle mass and made to run for longer hours to increase their endurance. They are made to maul and kill smaller animals or cats and puppies.

Cock Fighting:

Even cock fighting is prevalent in two states Louisiana and New Mexico in the United States. This centuries-old sport is often played surreptiously. Roosters raised for fighting are brutally tormented so they turn aggressive and are given stimulants to endure the fight. It is promoted by journals like The Gamecock, The Feather Warrior, and Grit & Steel with heavy advertisement on products related to stimulants, hormones, and blood-clotting drugs. According to the Oklahoma Coalition Against Cockfighting, strychnine is one such stimulant to boost a bird despite wounds in the fight.

Handlers tie knives or sharp steel projections called gaffs to their legs. The birds peck and maim one another with their beaks and the weapons. Confined to a pit, the injured bird cannot escape but finally succumb to its injuries. The sport attracts huge amounts in betting which is the key behind the sport still flourising in some parts.

Ashamed of this practice in his state, Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating once said, Cockfighting is cruel, it promotes illegal gambling and it is simply embarrassing to Oklahoma to be seen as one of only a tiny handful of locations outside of the third world where this activity is legal.