02/07/2016 10:48 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:27 AM IST

Maneka Gandhi Urges US President Obama To Skip Running Of The Bulls Event In Spain

Joseba Etxaburu/Reuters
A wild cow charges at a reveller after the last running of the bulls of the San Fermin festival in Pamplona, northern Spain, July 14, 2015. Five runners were hospitalized following the run that lasted two minutes and four seconds, according to local media. REUTERS/Joseba Etxaburu

WASHINGTON -- Union Minister for Women and Child Development, Maneka Gandhi has urged US President Barack Obama to skip the annual 'Running of the Bulls' spectacle during the San Fermin Festival in Pamplona, when he travels to Spain later this month.

"The 48 bulls used in the event are struck and terrorised as they slip, fall and injure themselves or human spectators on their way to a violent death in the bullring," Gandhi said in a letter.

The letter dated 26 June, was released by People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) here yesterday. In the letter, the Union Minister pointed out that bullfighting is an archaic display that has lost favour among Spaniards and has been banned in many parts of Spain and other countries.

"In your position of power, taking a stand for compassion for animals and against cruelty would have considerable influence," Gandhi wrote.

"Won't you please skip this barbaric event and speak out against such cruelty? This would surely be celebrated by kind people all over the globe," she said.

Gandhi said bullfighting is banned in many countries including India, Argentina, Canada, Cuba, Denmark, Italy and the United Kingdom. She said even several Spanish cities have banned the sport.

The White House, though, has not confirmed if the US President would be travelling to Pamplona.

"I suspect he probably is interested in that. I've not spoken to him about it. But I don't know whether or not the President's itinerary will allow for witnessing that rather interesting event," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters during a news conference last month when he was asked about it.

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