Your picture of a calf in great distress in the bull ring at Pamplona, Spain (Oxford Mail, July 11), was outrageous in that no attempt was made to comment on the appalling cruelty involved.

On the contrary, the caption accompanying this photograph seemed to be in the form of an advertisement for this disgusting animal event.

This is certainly not an even contest, since the animals subjected to this medieval barbarity are first weakened by spears stuck in their side, and heavy weights are attached to their backs before they enter the ring. They also have Vaseline smeared in their eyes.

The festival of St Fermin, where this took place, is one of the many festivals celebrating saints' days, and is actively supported by the Catholic Church.

Goats are thrown from church belfries, bulls' horns are set on fire and countless other obscenities are involved.

The nuns make darts to throw at the bulls, and most bull rings have chapels attached to them, where the matadors are blessed by priests beforehand. Many priests are keen enthusiasts.

In Portugal, all the non-mobile bull rings are owned by the Catholic Church.

It is pointless writing to the Catholic authorities, either here or in Spain, since they will not discuss the subject.

I would, therefore, like to appeal to the Catholic Church locally, via your columns, to address the concerns of all compassionate people that this abomination should be brought to an end, and that the Church should cease its despicable involvement.

STAN FRANCIS Kingston Road Oxford