Three horny anti-cruelty campaigners were bullish about getting their bits out for a good cause today.

A brave band of models stripped down yesterday to little more than a pair of horns and a sign with the message "out with the old, in with the nude".

They were recruiting for animal welfare group Peta's annual Running of the Nudes - a naked mass protest against the Running of the Bulls festival in Pamplona, Spain.

A small crowd of shoppers who gathered at the clock tower at junction of North Street and Queen Street, Brighton, clearly approved.

Martin Ellis, 27, an accountant from Haywards Heath, said: "You don't expect to see three semi-naked women standing in the town centre first thing in the morning so it is certainly catching people's attention.

"I'm not sure how naked women and anti-bullfighting goes together but it's certainly made me stop to find out."

Bullfighting is undergoing a popular revival in Spain, while animal rights groups do not enjoy much of a following.

However those who stopped to see the protest were largely in favour of what Peta were trying to do.

Clare Matthews, 33, a mother from Brighton, said: "It's certainly an unusual way to do things but it has got people talking.

"Bullfighting is cruel and inhumane so I fully support action against it. I won't be getting naked though."

Animal rights activists will run naked through the streets of Pamplona in July to protest against the slaughter of Iberian fighting bulls during one of Spain's most popular fiestas: the week-long "Sanfermines" immortalised by Ernest Hemingway's 1926 novel, The Sun Also Rises.

During the festivities, as well as bullfights, thousands of revellers run before fighting bulls that are let loose on the medieval streets of Pamplona, the capital of Navarre in northern Spain.

Every year, a few runners are gored, and others trampled by the stampede of humans and animals, the danger being an essential part of the fiesta's appeal.

Almost two million tourists are expected to visit Pamplona and several thousand of them will take part in the 800-metre bull race.

Bosses at Peta stressed the serious message behind the light-hearted stunt.

Lauren Bowey, a spokeswoman for the charity, said: "Tormenting and butchering animals is an ugly old tradition.

"What most people do not realise is how badly the bulls are treated before, during and after these events.

"They are terrorised with electric prods and sharp sticks to force them to stampeded and they often get seriously hurt when they slip and fall on the cobbled streets.

"They are also fed laxatives, beaten or given tranquilisers to slow them down before they are slaughtered during bullfights.

"Our naked event is a fun and humane no-bull alternative to the race so we can get the message across."

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