The Life of a Bull – Bullfighting and Animal Cruelty

Earlier this month, a matador was killed in eastern Spain, after he was speared by a bull’s horn while bullfighting in a crowded arena. He was the first matador to die in a bullring this century. While many are mourning the successful matador’s tragic death, many animal rights groups are slamming bullfighting, claiming that the main tragedy is the death of the bull.


The Life of a Bull – Bullfighting and Animal Cruelty

By Kathryn Leckie

Animal rights group, PETA, claims that nearly 40,000 bulls die a year in arenas around the world. The death of a bull in the ring, they say, is a torturous, protracted and painful experience that is not only intentional but celebrated and encouraged; attracting tourists from around the globe who revel in witnessing the death of an innocent animal.
The bull responsible for the death of the matador is assumed to have been killed already, however, the Telegraph reports that according to Spanish tradition, the mother of a ‘murderous bull’ also has to be killed in order to stop the bloodline.
Stop Bullfighting describes the situation prior to the bullfight, which involves the bulls being kept in dark boxes, Vaseline being rubbed in their eyes, solution rubbed on their legs to throw them off balance, drugs ingested, and their ears and nose being blocked off. Once the animals are finally released from the box, they proceed straight into the bull ring, where they face their last moments of life. The fight consists of three stages, which involve taunting the bull, stabbing the bull multiple times, before killing the bull while a crowd of onlookers cheer.
Bullfighting, as well as the infamous Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain, has divided communities, with many supporters claiming it as a cultural tradition embedded in Spanish history. However, as Stop Bullfighting notes, the tradition has a glorified public image; presented as a contest between the brave matador, who boldly risks life and limb to tackle a mad and ferocious beast.
Increasingly, people are coming to realise that the bull is an innocent victim in this situation; they are cruelly provoked, and thrown into a ring where they are destined to lose; no matter the outcome.
In a recent article by a Spanish local newspaper, a new trend shows that those in favour of bullfighting —both fans and professionals in the area—photograph themselves giving their middle finger towards those against bull fighting. This lobby of people who support the cruel sport is actively participating in torturing an animal for entertainment.
In August last year, an activist jumped into a ring to comfort a dying bull that was crying and searching for help. She received a €7000 fine and an outpouring of abuse.
As Humane Society International (HSI) notes, this campaign to protect bullfighting is a desperate attempt to resuscitate a fading commercial industry that both members of the public and politicians throughout the world are abandoning. Over the last decade, scores of local and regional governments have banned the cruel bloodsport, and many more are currently considering similar action.
In the 21st century, wanton animal cruelty can no longer hide behind cultural excuses.

Get Involved

Refuse to participate in these traditions, and advise anyone you know about the truth behind bullfighting and the ‘Running of the Bulls’. Tourists often attend these events due to the iconic ‘traditions’, but that means fueling the cruelty, and often being exposed to something they did not know existed.
Write a letter to the Spanish Ambassador and tourist offices here.
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