Union Minister and animal rights activist Maneka Gandhi has appealed to US President Barack Obama not to attend the "Running of the Bulls" spectacle in San Fermin festival in Pamplona during his visit to Spain this month.
In a letter addressed to Obama, the 59-year-old Union Women & Child Development minister said the US President taking a stand against animal cruelty would have "considerable influence" and requested him to skip the "barbaric" event.
"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," NGO People For the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India quoted Gandhi as saying in the letter.
PETA in a statement issued today said that the Union Women & Child Development minister has written the letter in support of request by the affiliates of the NGO urging Obama not to attend the San Fermin festival.
Gandhi pointed out that bull-fighting 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. Won't you please skip this barbaric event and speak out against such cruelty?" the letter read.
PETA notes that more than 100 towns and cities across Spain, as well as the entire region of Catalonia, have introduced bans on bullfighting events, the statement said.