State grants permits for ‘Great Bull Run’
By JEFF MARTIN
ATLANTA (AP) — Just days before daredevil runners plan to dodge a stampede of bulls at a Georgia horse park, state agriculture officials approved last-minute permits paving the way for the event.
The Cotati, Calif.-based Animal Legal Defense Fund discovered last week that needed state permits had not been granted for Saturday’s planned Great Bull Run in Conyers. The animal advocacy group has sought to block the event from taking place.
Organizers scrambled to file permits, saying there had been a misunderstanding about what was needed.
Those permits have now been approved, Georgia Department of Agriculture spokeswoman Mary Kathryn Yearta told The Associated Press.
Saturday’s bull run at the Georgia International Horse Park, which hosted equestrian events in the 1996 Olympics, is the second U.S. event this year for the group The Great Bull Run. An August run was held at a Virginia drag-racing strip, resulting in at least one injury that organizers described as minor.
“This chaotic event poses an alarming threat to animal welfare and to public health,” Animal Legal Defense Fund Executive Director Stephen Wells said in a statement. “Local officials must act immediately to protect their citizens and shut down this cruel contest.”
But Rob Dickens, co-founder and chief operating officer of The Great Bull Run, said veterinarians will monitor the health of the bulls. They’re being supplied by ranches.
The event, inspired by the annual running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain, has future stops planned in Texas, Florida, California, Illinois and Pennsylvania. After the Georgia event, the next one is set for Dec. 7 at the Royal Purple Raceway in Baytown, Texas.