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The Globe and Mail

Public editor: The caption on this photo isn’t bull

A cow jumps over revellers in the bullring at the San Fermin festival, in Pamplona, Spain, July 8, 2014.

Alvaro Barrientos/Associated Press

Globe and Mail readers are having a bit of fun with a photograph in Wednesday's newspaper showing "a cow" jumping over revellers in the bullring in Pamplona, Spain, during the annual running of the bulls festival.

The photo has a headline saying, "The cow jumped over the crowd," and shows a large animal with horns leaping over people.

One reader wrote: "This poor 'cow' was likely just trying to make a hasty escape as she realized that she had been mistakenly let loose in the bullring."

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Here's another reader who took a look at the undercarriage of the animal: "I always thought cows had udders and bulls had balls. Neither appendages were visible on the beast in the photo. Perhaps the name of the event should be changed to 'The Running of the Oxen'."

Despite the merriment, the caption is correct. It is a cow and this is a separate spectacle from the bull run. Here's a link to the Pamplona hotel association's history of the run. It includes a reference to Ernest Hemingway, who was injured in 1924 when "he tried to hold a cow by its horns and was thrown to the floor."

Yes, a cow, not a bull.

The website explains that the festival used to use young bulls for this event, which is held after the bull run, but now it uses fighting cows or vaquillas.

The Globe published the photo above, supplied by an Associated Press photographer in Spain, and the caption information was that the animal was a cow.

Reuters, another photo agency, supplied a similar picture with this caption information: "A fighting cow leaps over festival goers as she enters the ring following the first running of the bulls at the San Fermin festival in Pamplona July 7, 2014. The young cows, known as vaquillas, are released into the ring following each running of the bulls after the fighting animals have entered the pen. Four people were hospitalized on Monday on the first day of Spain's San Fermin bull run, a daily race through the narrow, cobbled streets of Pamplona that forms part of the northern city's week-long festival."

I wondered, too, when I saw a photo of an aggressive animal with horns, but vaquillas are smaller than the bulls when you see photos of both and the horns are different.

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Given the information supplied by the website and the two photo agencies, we should, in the immortal words of Bart Simpson, not have a cow, man.

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