Tommy Lee Calls for Tourist Boycott of Pamplona Bull Run
Tommy Lee is happy to shout at the devil, but you’ll never catch him running with the bulls. The Mötley Crüe co-founder expressed his disdain for Pamplona, Spain’s “running of the bulls” in a recently published editorial for The Independent, blasting the event as “a pathetic display of human idiocy and cruelty” and arguing that a tourist boycott could put an end to a grisly tradition that, according to Lee, most Spaniards no longer support.
Contrasting his own hard-living rock star hijinks with the dangerous melee seen by many as a rite of passage, Lee wrote, “while there may be guts (from the runners who are gored), there certainly isn’t any glory in trying to stay a few steps ahead of frightened, confused bulls.” Describing the animals’ mistreatment — he alleges that they’re kept in dark enclosures and shocked with electric prods into the streets, where they’re hit with “sticks and rolled-up newspapers” to provoke panicked running — he goes on to outline the bulls’ bloody end in gruesome detail.
“From the moment he enters the ring, he has no chance of winning. As many as eight men spear and stab the exhausted animal to weaken him further,” writes Lee. “At this point, he sometimes drowns in his own blood, but if not, the matador finally attempts to kill him with a sword. If the matador’s bravado ends in failure, an executioner enters the ring to sever the bull’s spine with a dagger. This, too, can be botched, leaving him paralyzed but still alive as his wounded, bleeding body is dragged out of the arena. Then another bull enters, and the horrific process starts all over again.”
Dismissing the spectacle as “more twisted than anything I could have imagined, even during my wildest days with Mötley Crüe,” Lee pins its continued existence on ignorant tourists, and issues an impassioned call for travelers to resist any urge to fund the running of the bulls with their vacation dollar. Rather than “supporting cruelty,” he points to any number of once-in-a-lifetime experiences that are just waiting to be had — with no senseless loss of life involved.
“From music to motocross,” he concludes, “we have limitless ways to entertain ourselves that don’t involve harassing, torturing or killing animals.”