After years of holding Toro de la Vega, a medieval bull festival that Spaniards celebrate in the town of Tordesillas every September, the torture and killing of bulls has officially been banned by Spain’s Supreme Court.

During the fiesta, several participants ride their horses and wield their spears while chasing the bulls out of the town into other surrounding areas. Hundreds of lancers are involved, who try to stab the bull multiple times until it dies in the open fields.

The Castilla y Leon government banned the stabbing to death of bulls at the festival back in 2016. Tordesillas City Council wanted it back and tried to revoke the ruling, but Spain’s Supreme Court rejected their appeal, putting an end to more than 500 years of the cruelty.

“This is an important victory in the fight against the torture and killing of sentient animals for public entertainment,” Dr. Jo Swabe, senior director of public affairs at the Humane Society International (HSI), said in a statement.  

“The Spanish Supreme Court has recognized that the medieval ‘tradition’ of allowing a terrified bull to be chased to exhaustion and then stabbed to death by a spear-wielding mob has no place in modern society,” he added.

Bullfighting originated in Spain, but the country has now been creating better platforms to end the animal cruelty. Now, more than 100 Spanish towns have banned the activity.

In Mataelpino, central Spain, locals have introduced the ‘Running of the ball,’ in replacement to the annual bullfighting tradition. In this event, a giant 125kg polystyrene ball that is painted to look like a bull, is rolled through the town “chasing the citizens” who wish to partake in the activity.