Spain’s Supreme Court has ruled against the torture of bulls at Toro de la Vega, a medieval bull festival held in the town of Tordesillas, central Spain. Following years of pressure from local Spanish animal activist groups, no bull will ever again be stabbed to death by a cruel spear-wielding crowd in the Castilla y León region of Spain. Among the groups condemning this senseless killing are the Animalist Party Against Mistreatment of Animals (PACMA).

The court rejected an appeal filed by the Tordesillas local council, which argued that there was no reason to prohibit the killing of the animal. The council argued that the legislation excluded, “the essence of the popular rite that gave rise to bullfighting,” and submitted that there was no conclusive justification to do away with the act and that the death of bulls did not detract from their dignity, but rather enhanced it.

Silvia Barquero, president of PACMA, welcomed the decision and hailed it as a victory in the fight to end similar deadly festivals and traditions.

This ruling is viewed as a victory for a wider civil movement in Spain, as more and more people speak out against injustices committed against bulls in the name of entertainment. To date, over 100 towns have banned bullfighting.

According to the Humane Society International, approximately 250,000 bulls are killed in bullfights every year. Audiences cheer as the animals are taunted, injured, and often killed. Veterinarians agree that bulls are traumatized and subjected to severe stress and suffering both in and out of the ring. In other countries like Argentina, Canada, Cuba, Denmark, Italy and the United Kingdom, bullfighting has been outlawed.

David Barritt, chief campaigner for Network for Animals (NFA), welcomed the landmark ruling and said it puts an end to this barbaric cruelty.

“Tormenting and stabbing terrified animals until the point of collapse and death is beyond cruel and unjustifiable for any reason – especially for entertainment,” he says.

“We hope that bullfighting is a dying industry and that Spaniards and tourists recognize it for the cruelty that it is. Please do not encourage this sort of entertainment at the cost of innocent animal lives. As humans, we are supposed to be better than that.”