Spain's animal rights party PACMA published a new video of village bull hunts on Thursday, this time in the region of Guadalajara (Castilla La Mancha).
In the new images, villagers participating in five chases in four different villages can be seen circling the bulls in fields in cars, tractors, motorbikes and quads, taunting them with Spanish flags tied to sticks, stoning the animals and shooting them in the head with bolt pistols.
Some of the participants ride on horseback with lances, others record the chases on their mobile phones, and the vehicles cross fields and roads in a haphazard manner.
A Civil Guard patrol car can be seen passing by on the road in the video, and villagers clamber on to it at one point to seek refuge from one of the bulls. There are no images of agents intervening to stop any of the activities.
Laura Duarte, a spokeswoman for PACMA, told The Spain Report that this kind of event takes place "in around 70 villages that we've documented", 45% of which have fewer than 300 inhabitants.
The party hired freelance journalists to record the images, which are from last summer, and aims to position Spanish society against bullfighting.
"Now that the Toro de la Vega has been banned", she said: "we think it's a good time to shine some light on this kind of practice, which is common in Castilla La Mancha".
"We are talking about festivals that are very common but very unknown in the rest of the country", she added: "[Spaniards from other regions] are surprised when they see the images".
Government Officials Pass The Buck
The Mayor of Briheuga, Luis Manuel Viejo Esteban (PSOE), a nearby village large enough to have a town hall, refused to comment on the the new PACMA video but admitted to The Spain Report that type of event was very common: "of course, yes, lots of bull runs, and not just in Alcarria, across the whole area".
When pressed on if all of those events included car chases and the stoning of the bulls, like the ones in the video, Mr. Viejo quickly said he was not going to make any more comments on the matter.
On the use of the Spanish flag as a cape or standard to taunt the animals, Ms. Duarte said it "denigrates the image of our country […] I suppose they would defend the festival as something normal, a leisure activity".
"This doesn't respond to any logical criteria about anything", she said.
A spokeswoman for the regional Public Administration Ministry in Castilla La Mancha said the competent authority in these village festivals "is a Civil Guard, who is in charge of writing a report and highlighting any infractions", insisting that "we always observe to see bullfighting regulations are respected".
"If the Civil Guard sees any infraction, that leads to a file being opened and, if proven, normally a fine".
Civil Guard Says Officers Present To Protect Public Order
A spokesman for the Civil Guard told The Spain Report that village bullfighting festivals are authorised or prohibited by central government representatives in each region, and that the actions of individual officers sent to police public order at the events must be weighed with the risk of causing more trouble due to a negative reaction from the participants should an officer decide to intervene.
"There is a very big [legal] vacuum here, of course", he said: "our only role at these things is public order, no more, no less".
Specially trained Civil Guard officers are present at higher-level organised bullfights in major rings, in order to ensure the animals are treated according to the law, but not in that role at village bull festivals. Officers are sent to village events when protestors are expected to clash with bull hunt fans, like with the recent clashes in Tordesillas over the Toro de la Vega.
Asked if an officer did not have a duty to intervene if a crime or infringement were committed against animal rights, the spokesman said: "yes, but that doesn't answer they question of what do you do with 300 or 400 people [who might turn on the officer]; it's a public order matter".
He did say, nonetheless, that images such as those recorded by PACMA of people stoning or otherwise mistreating bulls could be used as evidence were private criminal prosecutions or complaints to be made by third parties.
"There was an old chap in Murcia who was arrested recently for beating some cats to death", he said: "so if there is a video and a person wishes to make a criminal complaint, he may do so".