Oddly Enough

Escaped bulls on the run in southern France

PARIS (Reuters) - Police in southern France are racing to track down more than 20 bulls after about 50 of the animals were apparently deliberately released from an enclosure over the weekend, a local official said on Monday.

Authorities planned to deploy riders on horseback to round up the remaining bulls, which were reared for traditional races in the Camargue region, said Saint Remy de Provence Mayor Herve Cherubini.

“There are still 23 bulls on the run and 25 have been found as far as we know,” Cherubini said by telephone.

Evidence suggested the bulls had been deliberately released by unknown vandals on Saturday after wire fencing was cut and gun shots were fired to disperse them, he said.

Police used a helicopter on Sunday to help capture some of the bulls, one of which was killed after the authorities allowed residents to shoot if any ventured near residential areas.

While the animals were not reared for bull fighting and were not normally aggressive, they weighed up to 200 kilos (441 lb) and could charge at people when frightened, Cherubini said.

Some of the bulls had trampled a field of sunflower plants, but had caused no other significant damage, he said, adding that local residents and holiday makers should be particularly alert on narrow country roads.

Reporting by Joseph Tandy; editing by Mary Gabriel