Bullfighting in Spain: Is it part of culture or barbaric murder?

BULLFIGHTING: Without it the world would be a duller place.

They’re at it again! Yes, I can only be referring to the for- and against-bullfighting lobbies here in Spain. 

More than 430,000 people have signed a petition against plans by the pro-bullfighting conservative government to introduce two-year bullfighting courses in Spanish schools.

Well, I’m with the pro-bullfighting lobby on this one. I’m not going to repeat the arguments, just saying that the world would be a poorer, duller place without it. 

Most people have no idea about the rules or background and see it as a ‘man vs beast’ charade with the odds heavily stacked against the animal, which misses the point entirely.

The more rational argument is that, as a society, we’re incredibly hypocritical. We eat meat without knowing where it comes from, or use animal products (do you own leather shoes?) without any idea how these animals were kept or slaughtered. 

As long as the animal products are nicely packaged, we’re happy to believe they all had a beautiful life on a farm somewhere and died a ‘humane’ death. This, of course, couldn’t be further from the harsh reality.

 The ‘toros bravos’ live as quasi-wild animals for four to seven years, without much human interference. Four to seven years roaming the countryside, or one to two in a battery farm and then ending up in an abattoir. I know which one I’d go for. 

Granted, the last 20 minutes of their lives are pretty cruel but their quality of life, overall, is so much better than those millions of industrially-raised and kept animals consumed and exploited every day. 

As for ‘killing for food vs killing for fun’, after each ‘corrida’, their meat is given to the poor. That’s part of the tradition.

Unless someone is a die-hard vegan and doesn’t use any animal products (which, in our society, is fairly impossible), it’s hard to mount a credible attack on bullfighting in the 21st century. To anyone who does, I say BULLOCKS!     

Nora Johnson’s thrillers ‘Landscape of Lies’, ‘Retribution’, ‘Soul Stealer’, ‘The De Clerambault Code’ (www.nora-johnson.com) available from Amazon in paperback/eBook 

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    • Costas

      20 November 2015 • 10:50

      Very sad the lengths you go to justify torturing an animal. If i tortured you the last 20 minutes of your comfortable life and gave your meat to the poor would that be ok? Ah no, the animal is not the same as the human, right? And that’s the argument all defenders of bullfighting fail at.

    • Kath Meiklejohn

      20 November 2015 • 12:44

      No animal should be slaughtered in the name of fun and entertainment!

      Bullfighting is not a sport as the Bulls are kept in the dark without water or food for a few days then they are released into the arena weak and dehydrated and are stunned by the light after being kept in the dark!

      Then the bull can have his horns shorn down so they are sensitive just to further reduce the Bulls chance of winning and heaven forbid If the bull beats the odds and wins he doesn’t win his life or his freedom he simply faces another ponce poncing about in a sequinned costume acting like a complete tosser in this barbaric inhumane form of entertainment that should have no part in the 20th century.

      What a hell of a race we humans have become! B*****ks to the vile matador’s, picadors and the spectators we humans are supposed to be the civilised species – we are a plague that destroys all in our path from forests to woods and all forms of animal life – we are a cancer that shows no sign of humanity and yet we continue to look for life on other planets (other species) and yet we torture the other species we share this planet with in the name of fun and entertainment.

      Bullfighting is not art, not culture it is mankind in his most sadistic and physcotic state!

    • Nora Johnson

      20 November 2015 • 15:33

      A journalist’s job is to provoke and start debate and it looks as if I may have succeeded here!

    • Simon Lyons

      20 November 2015 • 18:15

      It is so sad that you justify your profession with the blood of innocent animals. Is Toro de la Vega a justified event? And the word is ‘bollocks’, not bullocks and that is what you and your opinions are…

    • Joseph

      20 November 2015 • 18:43

      Well if a journalists job is to tell the truth,the whole truth and nothing but the truth that means a whole lot of people throughout the world had better start looking for a new career.
      As a mere 72 year old I have never read such garbage in all my years.
      Which kindergarten are you still attending?
      Join the real world and smell the coffee….

    • erna

      20 November 2015 • 23:23

      Is THAT a question? You s****d woman! It is tradition and tradition is the most sad word in this world. Ban tradition.

    • Val arkana

      21 November 2015 • 12:21

      Rubbish…. the bull’s meat’s never given to the poor! In Spain they don’t eat the meat cause its full of toxins due to the huge stress during the bulls death. In France, they eat it. They sell it! 10€per kg. I live in Bayonne. I know. So stop spreading lies.

    • Val arkana

      21 November 2015 • 12:23

      A journalist’s job is To report the truth!!!!!

    • Brian J Deller

      21 November 2015 • 17:47

      “Bullocks” is a polite way of saying/writing the other similar word referring to male genitalia. I know that in this modern Britain (once Great), humour for many is not judged as funny unless the “F” or “C” word is used, so, for me who grew up when such language would receive a verbal admonishment by those close by in public, such words were never used except by the illiterates, Having had to visit abbatoirs on more than one occasion and listened to the frightened cattle in the stock-pen line to the slaughtering point, I agree with Ms, Norah Johnson; and I love a good steak, etc. as well.

    • Brian J Deller

      21 November 2015 • 17:59

      The fact is that as we have to obey laws, you are not allowed to torture a human being without serious legal consequences. But as we are allowed to eat animal meat with the provision that the animals are slaughtered according to written laws, I would expect the anti-B F people to campaign vigorously against Kosher and Halal methods of killing animals where throats are cut and the animals die slowly, not in the heat of battle.

      How about a campaign to make all religions follow the one we approve via the abattoirs?

    • Mike

      21 November 2015 • 19:39

      No it is not Nora, a journalists job is to report truthful events in an unbiased way. I know some modern journalists like some of those on Sky try to provoke the public because they try to generate news but that is poor grade journalism and not what good journalism is about.

    • Laura Paglia

      21 November 2015 • 22:47

      Nora, you are deeply misinformed. The bulls that end up in the arena when they are 7 years old are very few, especially since most corridas are “celebrated” with 4-5-year old bulls, rare is the bull that lives over that age, and cattle would live 20 years if given the chance. Bulls that die bloody deaths in a famous arena are, if traduced into human years, barely 20 years old.

      Most of them die much earlier, though, like this http://www.eldiario.es/cv/Algemesi-continuara-celebrando-polemicas-becerradas_0_370613015.html

      And even those who end up living their supposedly-nice-lives “as quasi-wild animals” for 3-4 years (time is money, as soon as they are big enough, they are shipped off to the arena) are “tried out” in what the industry calls TIENTA. How do you think the breeders know which bull will give a good “show” and which one will not? They have many previous runs. I’m sure that even next to wherever it is that you live in Spain, if you ask around, breeders and those who live off the blood of those beings will very willingly invite you to the next TIENTA. This video might interest you https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xFCTDfysAaQ See the PICA? Nice, right? Do you know what that does to the skin and body of a calf? And no, females don’t avoid the TIENTA either.

      Also, ask around for the NOVILLADAS, and BECERRADAS, all “fiestas” that are “celebrated” with younger bulls, and plenty of them. Those who aren’t “good enough, fiery enough to end up in an arena at 3-4 years of age. And if you like, you can also participate to a SUELTA DE VAQUILLAS. Since cows are not good enough for the arena, they are also used for fun outside. Terrorized, wounded and killed, no matter what age they are. Usually young, since cows are only kept on the DEHESA to keep the bulls quiet… and you know, half of the heads born are females, they aren’t worth much but they get sold for some money for that kind of “fiestas”.

      Then, after you have seen all that and have increased your knowledge on the life of the TORO BRAVO and his female companions, come back and tell us what you have seen. Although maybe you are simply not bothered by the blood. Because ANY EXCUSE is just that, AN EXCUSE, if you use it to justify the torture and death of a sentient being FOR FUN. Ever seen the movie The Island? Well, it’s pretty much the same. A beautiful and comfortable life for the first years of your life, and when needed, they take your liver, your corneas and your heart. But it doesn’t even hurt, you are sedated. Great, right?

      And… there are no “die-hard vegans”. One is either vegan or one isn’t. One is vegan when one understands that the bull, as well as the cow and the chicken, has a right to live a life without imposed suffering. But in any case, THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH BEING VEGAN OR NOT.


      It’s like saying that, since dogs and cats are eaten as meat in many Asian countries, it is justifiable to kill… your dog? Many people, especially in Spain, don’t even know that it is possible to live without eating and using and abusing animals. But EVERYBODY knows that it is perfectly possible to live without corridas.

      And by the way, you do know that it is possible to live without eating animals, right? So why aren’t you vegan? Is it just so that you can keep justifying other kind of deaths by keeping eating animals?

      Waiting to hear from you AFTER you have seen the blood and deaths of baby cows and bulls.

      By the way, this will appear as an open letter to you here http://of-life-and-else.weebly.com/blog-english

    • David Bartrop

      28 November 2015 • 15:25

      Editor, bullfighting could continue and make money if full size puppets as in War Horse in UK re enacted bullfights with actors.

      This is the third time of trying to interest the Spanish in this.

      David Bartrop

    • Lorraine Della

      21 February 2016 • 16:51

      Bull fighting is no worse than what the UK allow ! allowing a pack of dogs to chase a fox to exhaustion and then go for the kill – that too is NOT SPORT ! BUT and i do mean BUT we (the ex pats and any other VISITOR and we are just that VISITORS to Spain ) have no right whatsoever to petition, ban or moan about Spain´s culture. It is theirs ! and theirs alone just as we in the UK HAD a culture until the so called do gooders, moaners, human rights bods interfeared and allowed our culture, laws etc to be eroded and changed to suit the culture of ´foreign´visitors, so much so that there is NO GREAT in Great Britain anymore we simply let everyone dictate to us what they want and we bow down in case we hurt their feelings! or accused of going against their religion! sorry but what about the well known saying “When in Rome, do as the Romans do” . I may not like some things in spain but then again i am British living in their country, i have a choice, like it or leave it. I choose to stay as it is a much better place to live than in UK at the present time.

    • Lorraine Della

      21 February 2016 • 16:55

      if bull fighting is so abhorent to British living in spain what is their opinion on UK amending the rules, laws etc. by Allowing HALHAL meat – where they allow the animals throats to be slit whilst still alive and being left to bleed to death !!!! no difference whatsoever

    • Laura Paglia

      03 March 2016 • 10:29

      By your own rules, Lorraine, “your” Great Britain should BE ROMAN!!! Remember history???
      Do gooders??? Sorry, but whenever a life is mistreated, be it animal or human, I really DON’T CARE if someone is “offended” by my asking that the violence stops.
      “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing. Edmund Burke”


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