L.A. County fire officials block bull run, citing safety concerns

Fire officials halt bull at Fairplex

Bad news for adrenaline junkies: A bull run similar to the historic event in Pamplona, Spain, has been canceled after Los Angeles County fire officials raised safety concerns.

The Great Bull Run, a quarter-mile sprint in front of two-dozen snorting bulls, was scheduled for Nov. 8 at the Los Angeles County Fairplex in Pomona.

It would have been the 10th event sponsored in the United States by the Great Bull Run, whose chief operating officer started with obstacle races but increased the risk factor by unleashing rampaging bulls behind runners.

Los Angeles County fire officials rejected the permit request, saying the bull run "appears to violate reasonable public safety" standards, according to a copy of the rejection letter.

Organizer Rob Dickens said previous bull runs have drawn an average of 3,000 runners and 2,000 spectators, with only five injuries, none life-threatening.

The most recent race in Pleasanton, Calif., on July 26 drew 4,500 runners and spectators, with one runner suffering a concussion and bruises.

"We acknowledge that running with real bulls is dangerous, but we’ve had nine events in major markets across the United States and we’ve seen less injuries than the average college football game, and none of them have been life-threatening," Dickens said. 

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has opposed the events, charging that the race is cruel to the bulls. But Dickens said PETA did not play a role in stopping the run.

Despite the setback, Dickens said he plans to schedule three or four bull runs next year throughout the country. The events have yet to turn a profit.

To read more about travel, tourism and the airline industry, follow me on Twitter at @hugomartin.

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