• Animal's rights groups oppose Great Bull Run

    By: Tom Regan


    CONYERS, Ga. - For daredevils who can't afford to travel to Spain to run with the bulls, $50 will secure a ticket to the "Great Bull Run" at the Georgia International Horse Park on Saturday in Conyers.

    A promoter is bringing a scaled down version of the harrowing tradition to Georgia for the first time.

    "It is a truly dangerous event where runners could get seriously injured. We make it a little safer than how it is done in Spain, by allowing runners to escape the track by climbing the fence. We also don't sharpen the bull's horns as they do in Spain, which makes it difficult for a bull to gore someone," said Great Bull Run director Rob Dickens.

    Dickens said 25-30 bulls will run in a fenced quarter-mile track and chase after several thousand runners over the course of five bull runs.

    Spectators can watch from the bleachers for $10 per seat. Following the Bull Run, there will be a tomato food fight modeled after the La Tomatina festival in Spain.

    Dickens told Channel 2's Tom Regan two runners suffered minor injuries during the same event staged in Virginia in August.

    The event has drawn criticism from animal rights groups, including the Animal Legal Defense Fund.

    On Friday, the organization called on the city of Conyers to cancel the event which it described as "cruel endangerment" of the bulls.

    But a Conyers city official said he was assured the bulls, which are used in rodeos, would receive proper care.

    "I think they've done a fine job taking care of these animals and to see, hopefully, no one will be injured," said Conyers city manager Tony Lucas.

    The event organizer said no animal was injured in the Virginia Bull Run.

    Some Conyers residents told Channel 2 Action News they were opposed to the Bull Run. Others said they didn't believe it was cruel or abusive to the animals.

    "Bulls are running like they normally would. Instead of being in a field, they're running behind people, so I don't think there's any problem with that," said resident Ester Young.

    Those participating in the Bull Run are required to sign a waiver assuming responsibility for injury. Organizers said paramedics would be on the property to attend to injuries.

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