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Grotesque bull-burning festival in Spain where baying crowd straps flaming wooden horns to terrified animal

A terrified bull writhes and bucks as flames lick around its head moments after it is set ablaze - all for the entertainment of a baying crowd. Shocking new images have emerged of a barbaric annual Spanish bull burning festival which animal rights campaigners are demanding be banned. The sickening Joy of the Bull - or Toro Jubilo festival - is one of the 'cultural' highlights of the entertainment calendar for residents in the Medieval village of Medinaceli, in the province of Soria, north east of Madrid.

Every year, from around four centuries, people flock to watch a young bull be dragged into a makeshift ring in this grotesque ritual. There, the animal is pinned to the floor, while men strap wooden stakes doused in flammable chemicals to its horns, and set it on fire. Then local me show their bravery by tormenting the terrified animal.

This year's festival, which took place on Saturday, was no different. More than 1,500 people crowded behind barriers and strained for a view of the cruel spectacle.

A bullring is constructed in the main square and sand scattered on the floor. Several bonfires are built in preparation for the arrival of the bull. At 11.30pm, the fires were lit using paraffin and the three-year-old bull, named Liebro, was dragged in on a rope held by many men dressed in grey uniforms. It was tied to a post by its horns and a plank of wood attached to a metal bar doused in pitch - a highly combustible mixture of turpentine and sulphur.

Fiercely hot sparks and embers drip from the burning torches onto the bewildered animal. The distressed bull is then released, thrashing around the ring to the cheers of the crowds. Members of the public are seen jumping into the ring and taunting the bull - adding to its terror and confusion. Gasping for air, the bull finally reaches a state of exhaustion after nearly 45 minutes of torment and is soon dragged out the ring by villagers to be butchered. The men in the grey uniforms are awarded pieces of meat from the animal for their 'bravery'.

Authorities in the Spanish regions of Leon and Castile have designated the festival a special cultural status. But this has not stopped campaigners in Spain and Britain to call for it to be banned.

Animal Equality has long campaigned against bullfighting and cruel fiestas. We urge people not to visit bullfights and other events in Spain that involve the torturing of animals.

Watch our video showing undercover footage exposing a bloody fiesta in Tordesillas, Spain, and read more about the investigation at