To those who say bullfighting is cultural heritage and as national history should be preserved (youtube.com)
Editor’s Note: This video was removed by YouTube for its violent content.
— Bobby Brooks (@bobbybrooks_50) September 12, 2016
I am regularly haunted and horrified by the amount of cruelty towards animals that takes place on this planet. However, the worst thing is when these vicious, barbaric, tragic acts—often called art—are also legal forms of entertainment.
Bullfighting is just one of many activities that I seriously cannot understand why it is still operating—especially considering one of the most popular places for it, Spain, is a civilized nation.
A traditional bullfight, formally known as a Corrida, lasts for approximately two and a half gory hours. Matadors alternate to face six bulls in the arena, one at a time, and when they seemingly have the bull under control, picadors enter on horseback, armed with a lance to inflict injury on the large muscle on top of the bull’s neck.
Assaulting the bull in this way ensures that the bulls lose vast amounts of blood, so it not only weakens them, but it also instinctively spurs them into a rage causing them to ferociously charge again.
The bull will likely be repeatedly injured, and at the end of the disturbing scene, the matador attempts to sever the bull’s aorta, which brings the bull to the ground. If the bull is still alive, the matador will then cut his spinal cord.
With the crowd cheering, the matador may then be presented with a trophy—which depending on how “artistically” the president of the fight deems the matador has carried out the atrocious act, the “reward” may be one bull’s ear, two bull’s ears or a tail. On rare occasions, he will receive all three.
Not only is bullfighting vicious and tormenting, it dramatically taunts and causes suffering to the bulls emotionally, mentally and physically. Many of the bulls forced into the arena experience a painful and slow death.
What I find equally saddening and shocking—other than how these bulls are treated before, during and after the bullfights—is that large amounts of people pay out huge sums of money to watch and cheer theses matadors on.
Bulls are not aggressive creatures, and the only reason they go into the ring with apparent anger and frustration is because they have been tortured for two days prior to the event. Wet newspapers are stuffed in their ears, petroleum jelly is rubbed in their eyes to blur their vision, cotton wool is stuffed in their nostrils to cut off respiration, and a needle is stuck into their genitals.
The bulls are also kept in a dark box to disorientate them, and this is why they run frantically towards the light at the end of the tunnel, as they believe they are being set free when they are eventually released.
The bulls are almost always killed at the end of the torturous “fight,” and in Spain alone approximately 35,000 bulls lose their lives in bullfights.
Earlier this week, two bulls died (warning: preceding link is a graphic video) in a sickening head-on clash with one another, after the terrified animals were released into an arena to be tested against a matador. The tragic incident happened in the historic town of Sangüesa in Navarra, which is 43 kilometers southeast of Pamplona. Pamplona is world famous for it’s annual “Running of the Bulls” event that takes place through the streets.
The force of the impact caused by the two half-ton bulls colliding resulted in their instant death.
Fortunately, not all Spanish towns agree with using bulls as entertainment, as Mataelpino replaced its bull-run festival with an alternative event that has been named Boloencierro and has received worldwide praise and publicity. Instead of bulls being released into the streets, a giant 10-foot wide, 200-kilogram polystyrene boulder is sent to chase participants through the winding streets.
So far, four other Spanish towns have followed Mataelpino’s example by offering a cruelty-free way of celebrating their festivals, and PETA has offered to cover the costs of any other towns that wish to do the same.
Unfortunately, Mataelpino have not banished bull runs completely, as they still stage these events during the first week of their annual festival.
Horrifyingly, there are bullfighting schools in Spain (warning: graphic video link) that teach children as young as the age of 14 to torture, torment, stab and kill baby bulls that are so young they aren’t even weaned off their mother’s milk.
On Saturday, September 10th 2016, thousands of protesters, mostly Spaniards, took to the streets of Madrid in Spain to demand an end to the bullfighting tradition. The protest followed an anti-bullfighting campaign that successfully resulted in the region of Castilla y Leon banning the killing of bulls in town festivals.
One Madrid resident, Azucena Perez, marched outside parliament with a banner to voice her concerns and explained, “I think our laws should prohibit the torture of animals as a form of entertainment.”
Chelo Martin Pozo, a demonstrator from the city of Seville traveled to Madrid for the rally with the message, “Bulls feel and they suffer”—adding, “Bullfights are a national shame, and if they represent me, then I am not Spanish.”
It is not only the bulls that suffer, many of the terrified, blindfolded horses (warning: graphic images) the matador’s ride on have also been injured, and they are sometimes killed if they are badly gored, as the bull does not distinguish between who is the enemy, the horse or its rider. The horses have their vocal cords cut to prevent them from screaming, and cotton wool is stuffed in their ears. Often, the horses have to return to the arena, time and again, despite their fear and agonising injuries.
Thanks to a growing animal rights movement, change is definitely occurring in Spain, with Valencia—Spain’s third largest city—banning the tradition of “bous embolats,” which involves bulls with lit torches attached to their horns being set loose.
An online poll that was carried out in December 2105 by the World Animal Protection, found that 19% of adults in Spain, aged 16-65, support bullfighting, compared to 58% who are opposed it.
If you wish to get involved and help end bullfighting please support this anti-bullfighting Facebook page or voice your concerns by writing to the following address:
The Spanish Ambassador,
The Spanish Embassy,
24 Belgrave Square,
Author: Alex Myles
Image: Twitter @bobbybrooks_50
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina