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ActivismAnimal Cruelty

Bullfighting Soon to be Banned in Spain?

The romantic imagery painted of Spanish bullfighting in Ernest Hemingway’s famous book The Sun Also Rises might soon be the stuff of history. Spain is edging ever closer to banning the sport.

A bullfight in Spain

[social_buttons]Thanks to a petition with 180,000 signatures, the regional government of Spain’s northeastern Catalonia area will soon debate banning the sport tied so closely to Spain’s image. Recent polling indicates that less than 30% of Spanish citizens like bullfighting, reflecting an overall trend that animals should be treated more humanely.

Of course, it is likely that opposition to banning the sport will be noisy, especially when it’s a multimillion dollar generating industry that’s subsidized by the Spanish government. Then there are also those fans to whom the sport is a profound tradition to be upheld, like a ten year old matador who set a Guiness World Record for killing six young bulls in one weekend despite protests. He later declared, “No one can stop me fighting… I was born a bullfighter and will die one.” At least this boy has been banned from bullfighting in Spain and now must practice his trade in Latin America.

The famous city of Barcelona has also made efforts to stop the torture that bulls face in the arena. In 2004 they passed a declaration that condemned bullfighting, but came short of banning it. 125,000 people still attended bullfights in Barcelona’s Monumental Bullring in 2008, showing the declaration alone was not entirely effective. In Spain’s Canary Islands, however, the sport has been successfully banned.

But now as the Catalonia region of Spain moves to ban the sport, we can only hope others will follow. About 250,000 bulls are estimated to die each year in the nine countries that allow the sport, with 60,000 of the kills occurring in Spain.

Awareness about the need to protect animal rights has become much stronger across Europe in recent years. Earlier this month the European Union banned seal products in condemnation of Canada’s brutal seal hunt.

For more information about the effort to ban bullfighting, visit the webpage for a Bullfighting-Free Europe.

Photo Credit: J>Ro on Flickr under a Creative Commons license




66 comments
  1. Claire

    Well Chloe some people (the horrible people they are) think that bullfighting is a way to prevent death upon their people and its been a tradition of their kind for so long then….. why stop it if its all ready begun and you type like a first grader

    bull fighting is bad, boo bullfighting, these people are horrible (first grade terms: mean)

  2. Chloe

    i hate evry single person who is spanish for doing this its horrible and i wish that these stupid horrible spanish people would be the ones getting stupid sharp stick prodded in them tbh i wish all spanish people who do this die and soon its all horrible and i really dislike this its a horrible thing to do and i cant believe people do it as a sport. Yes it should be banned ……

  3. Sandra

    Today Catalonian parlament has banned bullfighting. I'm spanish and I hope that this action will be the beginning of a national ban of that torture, but it's hard because bullfighting moves a lot of money and it's very related with our tourist image.

  4. lorobolivia

    Spain is one of the least developed countries in Europe with a history of a centuries of dictatorship. Abuse of animal and human rights and injustice in general is deeply engrained in Spanish history and mentality.
    President Zapatero only recently realized that there was a crisis in Europe and Spain and was entirely surprised when his countrie’s credit rating got downgraded. Does he know that there is bullfighting in Spain? Perhaps nobody informed him…

  5. Abby

    I am glad they are working on banning bull fighting. This is so in humane. They are catching the bulls and chasing them down and spearing them with those spears decorated with streamers and other stuff… it essentially is like torture and is cruelty to animals. I though we supported being humane, to animals this would be considered cruelty to animals… its just so wrong i only hope they will realize that too.

  6. sky

    all of u who believe in bull fighting are fuck asses u hear me thats an awful thing o well its part of the culture, i would love to see you get stabbed and tortured in front of thousands of people as they cheer when ur dieing a terrible death seriosly i would love to see how U WOUL FEEEEEELLLLLLLLL THEY SHOULD BAN IT MAKE IT A LAWWWWWWW

    1. lorobolivia

      Americans are very fast in making laws. Spain is very sllloooowwwww…and once the law is made it takes loooonnnnggggg till every realizes that it even exists.
      The reason that bulls get killed in such an horrendous way, is, that there are no humans who voluntary would submit themselves to such a treatment. It is like bullying…picking on those that can’t defend themselves. It is a from of cowardice. The matador may well be mistreated by his wife or his mother and torturing the bull may be a form of compensation.

  7. Philip

    Wow It’s their culture and we can’t understand that. They have been doing it for thousands of years. I’m inbetween at this subject

  8. L. Perk

    I’m sorry everyone, but I think many of you are going about your arguments for or against bullfighting in the wrong way. By saying it is okay for the bulls to endure 15 minutes of pure pain because they were bred for that is a rather flimsy stance. You would be better served describing the life of the bull previous to the fight, the years of training that the matadors undergo, or even the history of bullfighting world wide. That would make for an argument that is far more sound.

    For those of you who wish to see bullfighting banned it is quite terrible to say things like you are only happy when you see a matador flying in the air or you like seeing a matador being gored or matadors will rot in hell. First of all it’s not for us to decide who will or won’t rot in hell no matter how much we may want to pass judgment on others. By making this the argument that many of you went with you totally nullified your point. No one wants to listen to people who go to the complete opposite extreme. How is essentially praying for the death of the matador any better than those who are in favor of bullfighting. By using this argument you are still advocating death and appearing irrational.

    The bottom line is this is an issue that is for Spain and other bullfighting nations to decide. Every country has some part of its cultural heritage they would either like to forget or is seen by others as unnecessary.

    I am not making an argument either way on this issue. That was never my intent. I just simply wanted to help you all with your fiery conversation. Oh and using curse words (cussing) really lowers your argument’s value and PLEASE people start looking over your messages to cut down on grammar and spelling mistakes. That hurts too. Sure we all will have a few errors, but WOW some of the messages are hard to read or interpret rather due to a barrage of typographical errors.

    1. lorobolivia

      There is one slight difference between the bull and the matador…the matador can decide if he enteres the arena or not. The bull has suffering imposed.
      Are you sure, that it is right to impose suffering?
      If a child is raped in front of your eyes on the street, would you look the other way? Would you be offended by the act? Would it be your responsiblity to do something about it? Would you accept a dog being stabbed in public? Of course we all can look the other way and say IT IS NOT OUR BUSINESS.
      Perhaps not caring at all would be a nice solution.

  9. Fernando

    Paul Schott……….you “wept!!!!!?” WEPT? A “REAL” man and you wept????? You must be a faggot. Dry your sissy tears and pull up a chair & watch an experienced Torrero play a bull like a cocksman plays a wanton woman. Then you’ll understand the essence of La Corrida!

  10. Fernando

    John Collins must be queer!!! Bull fighting is a wonderful “ART.” I get my kicks watching bullfighting and bedding women! Pass that “bota” over here & bring out another toro!!!

  11. Trausti

    Pablo if you think torturing innocent animals by little men in pink socks you must be very ignorant person i hope and i know all matadors will rot in hell

    1. lorobolivia

      We all know what is right and what is wrong, if we just dig deep enough into our conscience.
      A matador is brought up thinking of himself very highly. His pride is fed from the moment he is born…add to this a bit of ignorance…He will never admit that what he is doing is wrong.
      The world is based on duality, everything has an opposite. What goes around comes around…The Universe/Nature has it’s own way of fixing things.

  12. wafetr

    yeh, pablo, but we don’t kill horses on rodeo’s….do we? and every website i’ve gone on to do research on bullfights, there’s always a bunch of ppl calling us americans hypocrites…..and being american….im reely sick of it. i dont wanna be a hypocrite, but sense some ppl r being pretty racist then i guess i’ll hav to. so ur saying sticking a bunch of spears through a bull and leaving it covered in blood to die is ART?? well….i may not be an artist but im preetty sure thats non a fit definition…..and no, im not trying to be racist towards spain at all, even tho many ppl r being pretty racist towards americans

    1. lorobolivia

      …Bolivians are also picked upon when living abroad, definitely not because we are imperialists, but because most of us are dark skinned and indians or half-indians. buuhhhh…discrimination is everywhere. But picking on an innocent animal is a shame…it turns the abusing human into a miserable coward.
      We, lorobolivia, are fighting for the freedom of parrots in Bolivia and worldwide…there are at least as many slave holders in the world as there are caged and mutilated parrots and other birds. We don’t know what is worse…torturing an innocent bull or stealing the freedom of an innocent bird. The world is full of wrong actions. The future will tell if we ever get to pay for that.

  13. berty

    you ver heard of the word injerence? whatever happens in Spain or any other country is no exactly your concern , ,the end of bullfighting? Well ,I can make sure double sure that you will be walking on a stick and reading articles about ,, how for once to ban bullfighting

  14. Paul Schott

    I watched a bull fighting video recently and wept, for the brutality shown to the corageous bulls, and the arrogance of the matador, and indifference of the spectators. How sad that we treat animals with such distain. I commend those who campaign against this torture, and hope for the day when their voice is heard. I live in Australia and appreciate that we have our own hipocracies to confront in our own backyard, but hope my comments are of support to those campaigning for change and animal rights in Europe.

    1. Myrna

      Well said Paul. I thank God there are good people in the world like you. It’s so disheartening that there are so many cruel, barbaic, uncompassionate ‘people’ in this world, who are so disturbed to call bullfighting ‘entertainment’.

  15. Robert

    What was first? the fighting bull or the bullfighter? answer: the bullfighter.

    The fighting bulls are a species genetically created by men in order to be brave, selfish and powerfull. The fighting bulls, their nature, they are created in order to give their lifes in the arena, just as the eagles are meant to fly.

    Since the very beginning of times, the bull blood has been considered as a symbol of victory; actually, in the greek island of Creta there is pantings of 4000 years old (of the ancient minoic civilization) representing boys playing with bulls, the so-called “forcados”. The goddes Cibeles was honored with bull blood, symbol of victory. Before a battle, the ancient greeks used to kill a bull in order to predict the result of the battle. Julius Caesar painted his face in red with bull blood as a symbol of victory when having his “triomph” over the streets of Rome.

    The bull has allways meant the significance of men, strenght, courage and nobility, those were the skills of a true men, the one that doesn’t lie nor cheat, the wan that is hunger and thirsty of enemies, wars and victories, the men that rised the Roman Empire, the Christianism and all kind of beauty in this world, it is what the ancient romans called the true man, the “vis”, the “véritas”, the “honestiores” (where do you thing the word “honest” comes from????), in a single word: the fighter, because at the end, life and death is an imitation of live itself.

    Therefore, the bullfighting is the manifestation of the pain and joy of life, the battle between two beasts born to fight, born to love and born die. Those who doesn’t understand this are those with weakness in their hearts and souls.

  16. john slaney

    ive been to spain im 69 and seen lots and seen lots that cant do it run away from a bull is very dangerous, but whats stopped me is £50 cheapest seat its a richmans sport £90 dearest but if spain want it
    its there decision and up to them to alter laws,i saw on spanish tv a lad 14/15 yr old fight a bull so nasty it turned on him over barrier with its horns wether he lived i dont no but the bull won that day
    bull fighting on my webage 1000 pictures tell anyone

  17. Dawn Davies

    jaxsprats are you human or what? there is no art the matador is on no danger, the bull has been doped and tortured. there is no art in stabbing an animal to death. art is flamenco dancing or spanish quitar music. bull fighting is just sick and the people who support it are even sicker.

  18. skip tinker

    how woud like be touchered have spearas poced at you till you gushing blood and some damm cape trying to get dizzy i always wanted to gore and see the mador tosee him tossed in the air and tromped the bulls are beathful not to touchered would you haveing spears poked at you i saw 1or2 bullfights when i was a kid it made me gagg and puch all over my teacher i had alway have a love for all of Gods wonderful bulls the blessing of the bulls

  19. Dawn Davies

    just read the news ,about the matador being gored, lovely it made my day. not so nice when on the receiving end is it, the little sadist.

  20. Deanne

    I hope in my lifetime to see the end of bullfighting and the running of the bulls. It breaks my heart to see such brutality. In this day in age, there is no need for such behaviour. I am sickened by horrific sisplays like bullfighting, dogfighting and cockfighting and the attitude that it is “our culture”. We had slaves in our culture once. Women couldn’t vot in our culture once. We all need to grow beyond “Our Culture”. Let two bullfighters fight it out in the arenas, now, that is good “culture”.

  21. Dawn Davies

    to Osca what a sick person you are. If that is what you call respect, then would you swap places with the bull.
    a lot of decent people care, that is why we have petitions and protests.

  22. Dawn Davies

    pablo how on earth can torturing an animal to death in the name of sport be art. Art is flamenco dancing and some of your historic buildings. the matador and picadors are cowards, they would not dare face a fresh unharmed bull. as for the sick people who enjoy watching this barbarity, well they do not deserve to be called human. yes rodeos should be banned as well. any form of animal cruelty is not acceptable

  23. Television Invasion

    “artistic mastery unimaginable in other compititions”
    How about we replace the bulls with adult or teenage humans, still think it’s artistic?

    They need to ban this archaic pseudo-sport that’s no more romantic or masculine than shooting the proverbial fish in a barrel.

    I would also push for an end to Rodeos and Horse/Dog Racing and fighting and all of the other pseudo-animal sports.

  24. Heather Stewart

    Living next door to Spain.I have never been to a Bullfight which to my mind is a barbaric pass time and should be banned as soon as possible.
    The poor bull has no chance and the only time it pleases me is when the matador is thrown up into the air.

  25. Maribel

    There’s no sense to torture living beings in the name of art, tradition or whatever. Bullfighting is only animal abuse.

  26. Biz

    This may be a good news. But also I would ban that crazy running the streets with the bulls. Every time when they run the streets with the bull somebody gets hurt.

  27. Jim

    There are all sorts of activities in the world that some people like and other abhor. The way some people feel they have to impose their tastes on other is frightening. I, for one, hope those who enjoy bullfighting will continue to be able to pursue their aficion, and that the narrow minded, intolerant bigots who oppose it fail in their efforts.

    1. myrna

      Actually, Jim you are narrow minded, since decent civilized people don’t accept cruelty to animals or to people. It’s the brave people in society that strive to make this sick world a better place. Hopefully, bullfighting and other forms of animal abuse will be a thing of the past.

  28. Rod

    These bulls are eaten for food. You are hypocrites unless you also want to ban meat and leather goods. If I were a bull I would want the chance to face my killer one-on-one instead of being electrocuted and pushed down a chute into a slaughterhouse.

    You should also support the ban on Fox hunting in England and boxing unless you are racist.

  29. TheVD

    I can only smirk when I read this article. How can you effectively ban bullfighting? Seriously? Invest your time in something more productive than worrying about the fair treatment of animals in a foreign country. Help yourself, your kin, your community, and then your nation first. I really dislike when people are gun ho about the environment with such great economic despair. Why don’t you stop your bitching about mother nature and all of this green stupidity. Want to take an initiative? Go join your local volunteer chapter and become a member of the American Red Cross, help out at the local food shelters, collect cans, or volunteer your time at a community center. That has a greater impact than deterring a bunch of fuckers running around a ring and stabbing bulls. You sir continue to live with your self-righteousness, but in the end you are no better than a bullfighter, in fact, you might be even worse.

  30. audrey

    i agree with Carles we should try to make a new kind of artistic mastery with people like Matthew…
    it’s never bullshit trying to make things better, don’t worry Matthew people like you will still find another nice hobby…hunting maybe?

  31. Marie

    I saw a bullfight years ago and it is so gruesome! Please stop this sport. Amazing to me was the amount of very small children cheering the Matador on! Very disturbing!!

  32. Ray

    I’m sorry, but I got to agree with Matt.
    Bullfighting is an ugly, barbaric, violent spectacle; much like life. The whole sport is a ritual about man and beast, nature versus rationale. Its bloody and graphic, and most people don’t have the stomache for it.
    That said, most people have no stomache for the facts of life.
    Those bulls are beautiful, bread for strength and health. They live well and die in about 15mins of pain.
    Go to a stockyard and see where your meat comes from. The animals are slow suffering with sores. And you eat it. If you breed cattle for food and sport, its no different than planting carrots for food.
    Most people just can’t handle being reminded of the brutality of life.

  33. Wanda

    This hippie will keep on loving and caring about animals, and maybe you’ll get it one of these days before it is too late…..

  34. antonio

    Not even ‘aficionados’ to bullfights in Spain would claim that bullfighting is a sport (they would probably say its an art). Where did you get that idea? It is something I would like to see disappear, like stoning, flogging or lethal injection. Nether of them is a sport, and those that practice it, don’t claim it to be a sport ether (with the possible exception of Texas)

  35. Stevie

    As a spaniard (from Madrid) I can tell you we envy catalonian initiatives toward bullfighting banning, and also I can corroborate the fact that most of the people in Spain, specially young generations, consider bullfighting as a bloody crime to be eradicated from our land. Hopefully we’ll achieve it soon.

  36. Oscar

    Haha, what the hell?

    It is a form of art, the animals are treated with respect inside the ring, there are rules and expectations, and besides the meat is used after they kill the bull.

    1. myrna

      It’s unimagineable that there are people like you who are so emotionally dead to think it’s o.k to torture an animal to death, since the meat is eaten. It’s stupid people like yourself that make me realize how deranged and violent many people in society are.

  37. Carolyn

    I have just come back from a trip to Madrid where I saw a bullfight in the famous Las Ventas ring. As someone who cares about animal rights, you may wonder why I went. Well, I had many reasons. I wanted to understand why a civilised country like Spain still condones what, in the rest of Europe, many of us consider to be a barbaric sport.

    Perhaps there was another side to it? The way it captivated Hemingway and other writers and artists indicated that it wasn’t all blood and guts. And it’s been a cultural institution in Spain for hundreds of years. You can’t just dismiss something like that without experiencing it yourself.

    So I went, and I appreciated the graceful, skilled moves of the Matadors. The way they made gaining control over an angry 600kg beast look as easy as playing with a kitten.

    What I did not appreciate was quite how unfair it was. The bulls never have a chance throughout any of it. Only after a few minutes of being in the ring, they are speared by a man on a heavily-armoured horse. He’s the biggest coward I’ve ever seen, as high atop his armoured horse, the bull doesn’t even get the opportunity to see him, let alone ‘fight’ him. The horse just gets hit in the side by the bull’s horns, but is thankfully unharmed due to all the protection.

    After this, the bull’s energy level is noticeably lower, along with his fighting spirit. By the time the matador comes in with his red cape on his own, the bull has already been stabbed around 9 times by the banderilleros and picadores (guys on horseback). I wouldn’t say that this was in any way fair.

    And as if that’s not bad enough, when the matador goes for the ‘moment of truth’ and kills the bull with his sword, it doesn’t always go according to plan. If he’s skilled, the killing is more humane, as the bull dies with one stab through the aorta in his neck. If not, then the matador will attempt again and again to get it right, injuring and hurting the bull badly, with blood gushing everywhere. This certainly isn’t graceful, majestic or brave. And it happened in 4 fights out of the 6 I saw in the famous Las Ventas ring, where, incidentally, the best matadors perform.

    For only around 5 minutes does the matador ‘fight’ the bull on his own. During the other 15 minutes of each fight, there are many people who help. The bull is always on its own. And of course, it doesn’t have a plan or strategy, just a natural instinct to fight, which has been specially bred into it.

    And when the goriest moment happened where one of the bulls (out of the 6 that were killed just at that one bullfight) took over 5 minutes to die, due to the matador messing up the ‘moment of truth’, all the audience clapped and cheered. Like we hadn’t just witnessed death. I’m glad I was physically repulsed, and am not desensitised to seeing an animal being killed for entertainment.

    The point is, yes we do eat meat and you have to kill animals for it. But that’s different to killing animals for fun and entertainment. It desensitises people to killing. That’s what I saw first hand.

    So if you want to know my main reason for going to a bullfight, it was so I could answer back to people like the guy who wrote the comment above mine. Now I know. It really is cruel and barbaric, and no-one can tell me otherwise. I’ve seen it with my own eyes.

  38. Fernando Leon

    Not to start a political debate, but Catalunya does many things differently from the rest of Spain. Bullfighting has never been part of the tradition there as it has been in Pais Basco, Madrid and especially Andalucia. For god’s sake, the official language of Catalunya isn’t even Castellano Spanish. Please stop sensationalizing non-stories.

  39. pablo

    Hi
    I like bullfighting, I’m Spanish.To me it is an ART. May be we must start banning torture in Guantanamo and Abu Graib. Later on, stop torturing bulls and horses in rodeos all around USA. Then the US Citizens will have the moral right to talk about torturing animals in other countries.
    Hypocrites.

  40. carles

    Ok Matthew , then we can come back to the the roman circus with gladiators because it was .. a form of artistic mastery unimaginable in other competitions …

  41. Matthew

    Fuck you hippies and your “lets save the cute little animals” bullshit! Bullfighting is a sport that is a form of artistic mastery unimaginable in other compititions. It displays mans dominance over beast, but in a more fair manner. Having witnessed bullfighting first hand I can honestly say that it is not nearly as unhumane as you make it, even though that word is unfit for animals.

    1. lorobolivia

      We recommend you as an inhumane beast/animal to go into the arena instead of the bull….or are you too scared?
      Regarding the dominance over the beast..isn’t it rue that the bull gets weakened before the fight and that the matador needs help when killing the bull?
      Perhaps the matador gets beaten by his wife or mother and because of that he picks on the bull. You never know…

  42. Sergiodeathstar

    As a race, it is our duty to move foward, to be come better. No one can argue that the tourture and death of an animal that can think and feel for entertainment is good. It is not. We no longer watch gladiators or slaves being killed in the ring for entertainment, because we understand it is cruel and wouldn’t want to be in thier position. It’s the same with animals. To say there are bigger battles else where is cowardice.

    I hope this partition succeeds.

  43. carles

    I am catalan and I have to say bullfighting is not a general tradition in a lot of regions in Spain and we see that, not as a sport or art, but as a murder.

  44. Matthew

    Y’know I am in general a supporter of animal rights, but when you compare bullfighting to industrial farming, the former is a non-issue. The number of bulls and the amount of pain they endure in the ring is so minute compared to that of factory farmed cows, it’s much ado about nothing. The death of a bull in the ring is comparable to what a wild cow would experience at the claws and teeth of a natural predator.

    If Spanish and Latin American people decide they no longer have the stomach for the spectacle, that’s fine, but otherwise there are bigger fights where activists should be putting their energy.

    1. ed pujol

      The array of insensitive,unthoughtful,lack of articulation caveman mentality,not to mention their poor grammatical errors only proves that these neanderthals have invaded a legitimate blog that is opposed to animal cruelty.

  45. robert bixel

    thank you so much for the encouraging news! I’ve signed many petitions and hope deeply that they do indeed help.

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