cecil the lion

Toro de la Vega draws tens of thousands of protestors opposing the medieval festival.
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Tens of thousands rallied to the Sol Square in Madrid to protest Sept. 15's Toro de la Vega festival, wherein local men chase down a bull and hurl spears at it until its dead. Why would anyone have a problem with that?

If you can believe it, the festival is said to have begun in 1534. Without Internet, television and probably a largely illiterate population, chasing down a bull would probably seem like some pretty stellar entertainment.

The BBC describes the proceedings even futher:

The Toro de la Vega festival is unique in that after the bull is run through the town, chasing daredevil participants through the streets in a similar fashion to Pamplona's famous San Fermin event, the beast is not fought by professional matadors in a ring.

Instead, all comers battle for the honour of killing the animal out in the open plain, some on horseback, others on foot. The winner of the tournament trophy is the one who lands the mortal wound on the bull, bringing it to its knees before an accredited expert deals a coup de grace to the animal's neck.

Supporters of the nearly 500-year-old tradition say it is the purest of battles between man and bull, pointing to strict rules against wounding the animal from the side or attacking in numbers rather than one by one.

But of course, this festival is seen as an act of barbarism by many in Spain and abroad. It sparked large protests last year with accusations of assault on both sides of the issue — not including those four injured by the chased bull.

And then this year, the protests swelled and erupted on social media as well:

It could be a sign of ever-more divisive political sides, raising ethical consciousness or the outrage over Cecil the Lion has found a new target.

Whatever it is, there won't be a happy ending for that bull this year.

dentist cecil the lion hunter - 8546232576
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By now, you've surely heard about Cecil, the Zimbabwean lion illegally killed by Minnesotan dentist Walter Palmer.

It has brought outrage, protest and sadness from people like Arnold Schwarzenegger to Jimmy Kimmel.

Artist Aaron Blaise, who worked as a Disney animator on The Lion King, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast and more, wanted to find a way to express his feelings about the death of Cecil.

Like many people around the world, I was extremely moved by the recent tragedy surrounding the hunting and killing of the beloved lion know as Cecil... As you may be able to tell I am a HUGE animal lover an it drives me crazy when I see these beautiful creatures destroyed for no good reason. In fact, I've decided to get personally involved and hopefully our efforts can help educate people and prevent these horrible things from happening in the future.

As some of you may also know I was one of the animators on "The Lion King" – When I heard the news about Cecil I got inspired to create a tribute image. It's not much but hopefully it will make people think.

Blaise has documented much of his life as a conservationist, filling his website not only with his art, but also with pictures enjoying the animals of the world.

If you want to see how Blaise made this work of art, he compiled a video to show the process.