Bullfighting? A Big NO.
Bullfight has been a controversial issue in Spain. A ban on bullfighting in Catalonia was approved by the Catalan Parliament in 2010 and it came into force in 2012. This was supported by animal rights groups. However the majority people in Spain claimed that this had affected the economy and the Spanish cultural tradition. The ban did not last long and it was annulled by the Spanish Constitutional Court in 2016.
I am strongly against it and I am going to share my own experience witnessing a bullfight in Madrid. Before I entered the bull ring, I thought that a bullfight was just a man "playing" with the bull with a piece of red cloth. This turned out to be my nightmare and my worst experience in Madrid.
My Experience As a Bullfight Audience
It was a scorching afternoon. Everyone was cheering when the bull slowly walked into the ring, followed by a few men called matador wearing fancy embroidered costumes. They approached the bull with their pink capes trying to agitate the bull.
After some time when the bull became more ferocious, the horseman known as picador armed with a lance came in. The bull was then lured to attack the horse and the picador stabbed the bull's neck repeatedly to weaken it. The horse wore a protective padding to protect itself from the bull's horn but from what I witnessed, it did not prevent the horse from getting hurt by the bull. It died in the end.
In the next stage, matador came in with two banderillas which were two colourful sticks with barbed points at the end. He was trying to run as close as possible to the bull and hook them on its back. There was a total of six banderillas stuck at the bull's back in the end. My heart broke like a glass because the bull ring was full of blood stains.
In the very end, the bull collapsed after so much torture and it was dragged away by four mules, again with hooks. The audience applauded the matador. After the bull was dragged away, cleaners came to clean the ring for the next bullfight. What was left was the thick metallic smell of blood in the air.
Terrified. Heartbroken. I was deeply affected after that and could not believe that people actually watch this for entertainment. I left after one bull was killed because I could not stand the cruelty of it.
Before The Bullfight Day
I did some research and found out that usually the bull is no longer a healthy one before entering the ring. The bull is often locked in a dark stable and terribly tortured for two days. Sometimes their horns are shaved in order to reduce the risk of the matador. By the time you see the bull in the bull ring it is already half-blinded and mentally destroyed.
When the bull senses light from the bull ring, it rushes towards the light thinking that there is still a slight hope of life. But, in fact the place it is heading to is the place that is going to take away its life in a horrible way. Oh poor bull!
Arguments Against Bullfighting
Bullfighting undeniably contributes to the tourism in Spain. Bull rings are open because they are sustained by foreign tourists who are curious and have misguided information about bullfighting, like me. Yes this is a tradition and to the Spanish, bullfighting is a noble sport that should be appreciated. However, if you put yourself in the shoes of the bulls, you will know how terrifying is this to them. Such activity also kills innocent horses and put human lives at risk.
I am not here to condemn the Spanish culture, nor to declare war against the supporters. Different people have different views. I have visited a few cities in Spain and I loved everything except for bullfighting. I just thought that entertainment should not be done by sacrificing animal lives.
I initially had the thought that if I fail to watch a bullfight, my trip to Spain would not be complete. There are actually other lovely entertainment like Flamenco shows. Spain also offers you beautiful islands such as Ibiza and Tenerife. Cities like Barcelona and Valencia will feed your eyes with extremely unique buildings and churches.
Bullfight Protest in Madrid
What do you think about bullfighting?
© 2018 Eng Kheng