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Bullfighting is Back as a Spectator Sport

Updated on December 23, 2017

The Beginning

With the turn of the 20th century and going from there to the 21st-century animal rights organizations highlighted the cruel aspects of bullfighting. They pointed out that killing animals for the sport was unethical and needed to be stopped. There is no doubt that bullfighting is a bloody sport that is like a double edge sword and sometimes the matadors are also killed. Recently a youtube video went viral showing a matador being gored to death by a bull.

The abhorrence for blood sport led to the mayor of Bogota, a left-leaning man to ban the sport in 2012 and earlier the autonomous state of Catalina had banned bullfighting as well. This was a significant decision as Spain is the home of bullfighting. In all about 8 countries permit bullfighting and in many places, it is severely restricted. These bans on bullfighting enthused animal rights enthusiasts but they were in for a shock as the constitutional courts in both Spain and Colombia overturned the bans.

The Constitutional Court Decision

The constitutional court in Columbia has now overturned the decision of the mayor. the court has said that bullfighting is part of the Columbian heritage and the sport cannot be banned. This decision of the CC has enraged animal rights supporters. The present mayor has said he is against the sport, but his hands are tied by the decision of the court, which is binding.Any attempt to flout the ruling could lead to a contempt of court action. He has however said that he will not allow state funding for the event. This is not a dampener as the sport generates millions of dollars and thousands pay to watch the spectacle.

Earlier last year the constitutional court in Spain had overturned the decision of the Catalonia parliament to ban the sport as going outside its competence. The court has upheld the rights to stage bullfights in the state as well. Supporters of bullfighting are thrilled and now plans are afoot to stage the first bullfight in Barcelona in the month of March this year.

Ancient Fresco showing a bull fight
Ancient Fresco showing a bull fight

Sport is Alive

These decisions of the CC have given a fresh life to the sport and one cannot see it vanishing from the face of the earth.The game is worth millions of dollars and matadors from many other countries like the USA also come to Spain. Women have also taken to bullfighting an American girl became a bullfighter after an agitation to remove a 1908 ban on women being bullfighters. This ban was contested by Angela Hernandez a Spanish girl in the Spanish Supreme Court.

Supporters of bullfighting point out that the bulls live a full life compared to bulls that are slaughtered for food. Whereas bulls for slaughter have a lifespan of 1-2 years the bulls in the ring live much longer from 5-6 years. They also live in idyll surroundings till blooded for combat. Animal rights groups say that more than 250,000 bulls are killed for this sport. This is an inflated figure and the numbers will be very few.

Female bullfighting painting
Female bullfighting painting

Last Word

A sport thrives on its popularity. In Spain, the majority are not against the sport, though the younger generation is not interested. In the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, the Indian version of bullfighting Jalikattu is supported by an overwhelming number of the population. However, animal rights activists have a point but then there are so many customs like the ritualistic slaughter of goats and cows in Islam. To stop all these activities man will have to become a vegetarian.

As far as the sport of bullfighting is concerned it will remain and the CC in Spain and Columbia have killed the controversy for some decades till public opinion rises against this sport.


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