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Friday, September 3, 2010

The Brutal Damage Caused by Bull Goring

Written by Asher Kade

bullPhoto: BillGracey

People being gored by bulls' horns is common in Latin America. While the bull is normally docile and easily domesticated, he can also become quite angry and make a turn for the worse. Bullfighting is a commonplace spectacle. Often these animals are provoked or abused in order to get the animals to react violently and thus create a more dramatic scene.

bullPhoto: Monica Ray

Socioeconomically, bulls are the source of entertainment in Latin countries. "Running with the bulls", with all its cultural aspects, happens every year in the summer. Since the 13th century, these festivities (most popular in Spain, though conducted in other places like India) are part of the countries' economic sustainability.

In the US, cowboys who work with cattle, in a practice known as animal husbandry, claim 94% of all of their injuries are caused by the bulls alone. Despite being normally docile, bulls are the most violent and lethal animals a cowboy will face.

bullPhoto: Emilio Labrador

Cattle behavioral issues are also common for police officers all around the world. In India, there is a huge problem with rogue cattle wandering aimlessly about and unattended. There are at least 2,655 illegal dairies in New Delhi alone. These illegal dairies are poorly maintained, lending to disease, corruption, poor management, bad food quality and animal abuse. Many of the 30,000 cattle that roam New Delhi come from these illegal dairies. Locals are attacked when they least expect it by the rogue cattle. The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) are now microchipping cattle to be able to identify the owners. Without the microchip, owners face huge fines and/or loss of their cattle, as they are either sold off or killed.

The abdomen, which is usually eye level to the bull, is the most common area to be gored. Even the chest is not gored as often as the abdomen. The abdomen lacks the skeletal protection of the chest, which makes the person susceptible to fatalities. The abdominal walls are sliced open and hemorrhaging begins prodigiously. The bowels end up being spilled out.

Other likely places to be gored by a bull are the vaginal and anal cavities (second most common). Lung punctures and rib fractures can be found in about 4% of cases. The most extensive goring typically takes place on the right side (63%) as many people are right handed and the bull is thus more likely to be stood on their right side. Also, right handed people are more likely to try to protect themselves with their right hand, obviously.

(See pictures of these bull gording injuries.)

Injuries from bull goring are very unique. The horn's long, curved shape with smooth, tapered ends is nature's creative way of protecting the bull from harm's way. Because of the bull's horn size and structure, 25% of all bull horn injuries are fatal.

death by bullPhoto: Mukta Rani

In most parts of the world, there are no regulations on how to handle the animals when they are used for entertainment purposes. The animals' rights are seldom considered. As mentioned earlier, laws are improving to protect citizens from rogue, loose cattle. But, for the most part, innocent victims of bull horn injuries don't receive justice.

If the bull horns do penetrate the victim's body, the gored individual has a 78% likelihood of dying.

bullPhoto: chikuado

Note in this last video how the spectators in Spain treat the bulls. Witness how the bulls are provoked and abused. Ask yourself: is injuring an animal entertainment? Is witnessing a person being brutally killed a sport? Watch this video and decide for yourself.

All pictures used in this article have received permission to be used by their respective owners.

© Asher Kade