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Planned bull run event makes animal activists see red

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Animal activists are seeing red over a metro-area running-of-the-bulls event next month.

A stampede of 2,000 adrenaline junkies is expected at the Elk River Extreme Motor Park northwest of the Twin Cities for The Great Bull Run on June 21. Runners will sprint a quarter-mile with real live bulls, event planners say.

The Elk River event website promises that it will be "the real deal, modeled after the famous San Fermin festival in Pamplona, Spain, but without all the time and money required for a trip to Europe!"

But animal-rights activists say bull runs are outdated and barbaric exhibitions of animal cruelty, the Star Tribune reports.

The Animal Rights Coalition in Minnesota would like to see bull runs banned in United States, the group's Rachel Augusta told the Star Tribune.

“We are pretty horrified by it,” Augusta told the newspaper. “People don’t know how cruel it is,” she said, noting that the bulls in Spain have been starved and provoked.

Organizers of the Great Bull Run told the newspaper the bulls meet federal regulation standards for care and they note that the animals are handled by professionals, and that most of the year, bulls peacefully graze at a Kentucky ranch.

Activists with the Animal Legal Defense Fund and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals have filed a lawsuit in California seeking to prevent the events from happening there this summer, noting the events cause "unnecessary suffering and stress to the animals."

Activists have long objected to the Pamplona event in Spain, where bulls are killed.

In a frequently-asked-questions section for the Elk River event, organizers stress that the bulls are not harmed, unlike in Pamplona.

Organizers of the upcoming Minnesota event warn that there is a real risk of serious injury, but they also note the event isn't "as dangerous as you'd think." They offer this graphic on how to avoid being gored:

It's fairly rare that the human participants die in Pamplona, although 15 people have been killed in that event's long history, USA Today reported.

The cost for participants in Elk River is $60 in advance, or $75 at the venue (price includes a T-shirt and one beer).

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