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© Miguel Noronha     
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What is wrong with bullfighting?

Bullfighting is based on stressing, exhausting, injuring and/or killing bulls, and each of these 'essential' components required to 'win' the fight against the bull is reason enough to stop it. Bulls are sentient beings, and those who breed them have a duty to care for them. This duty is completely neglected when breeders force their bulls into a bullring.

This is the 'bottom line' ethical reason for ending it. Of course there are plenty of powerful 'specific' reasons to seek abolition.

Injury and mutilation
'Bloodless' fights
Cheats
Other victims
Children

Injury and mutilation
 
Bull with banderillas
©ADDA
 
 
Bull stabbed by picador
©ADDA
 
 
Blood on bull's back on the supposedly 'bloodless' Portuguese-style bullfight
©Miguel Noronha. Provided by the League Against Cruel Sports
 
 
Dying bull about to be mutilated
©ADDA
 
 
Stabbed bull about to be killed
©ADDA
 
 
Fallen bull about to be killed
©Initiative Anti-Corrida
 
 
Child in a 'capea' being trained as bullfighter with very young bulls.
©FederaciĆ³n de Liaisions Anti-Corrida
 
 
Fallen picador's horse
©ADDA
 
In a typical Spanish-style bullfight, the bull enters the arena and after being provoked into several charges is approached by picadores, men on blindfolded horses who drive lances into its back and neck muscles. The bull's ability to lift its head is impaired due to severe loss of blood. Then come the banderilleros on foot, who proceed to stab banderillas-"brightly colored sticks with harpoon points" into the bull's back to further increase the pain.

When the bull has been weakened sufficiently, these banderilleros run the bull in more circles until it is dizzy and stops chasing. Finally, the matador appears and, after forcing a few charges from the exhausted and confused animal, tries to kill the bull with his sword. If he misses, he stabs the submissive animal on the back of the neck until it is paralysed. The dagger is supposed to cut the spinal cord, but even this can be blundered, leaving the bull fully conscious when its ears or tail are cut off as trophies. The bull may then be dragged away from the arena whilst it is still alive, and butchered out of sight for its meat to be distributed to the food market.

"Bloodless" fights
During the Course Camarguese, men run in front of the animal trying to grab the ribbons with a weapon that has a metallic crochet of 16 points. During this show, the animal is struck several times with this instrument, causing wounds in the head or to the eyes. The bulls need several months to recover after each of these shows, before they are abused again.

In Course Landaise, each cow is put in a metallic box where men attach a rope to its horns; the other end of the rope is outside the box from which the animal will be expelled brutally. In the ring, two or three men pull the cow by its horns. From behind a wooden barricade, a man pulls the rope causing violent pain to the cow by banging its head against the barricade. They may also use a spear to force the cow to the middle of the ring.

In Portuguese bullfighting, the bull faces the rider who will stab it with several banderilhas, which are painful and draw blood. Due to the intense pain, the bull tries, usually without success to chase the rider in order to defend itself, leading to suffering for the horse, even if the horns of the bull are padded. When the bull is exhausted, still with the banderilhas in it, eight men (forcados) enter the bullring where they assault the bull grabbing its head and tail, eventually immobilising the weakened animal. The bull is then taken to the pen where it will be left for a few days, suffering with his wounds, until being slaughtered.

'Cheats'
Bullfighting is obviously not a fair 'fight'. This is not a fight between a bull and a man, but a fight between a bull and several men, horses and weapons. In addition, bulls are often drugged or have their horns altered. One common illegal practice is to 'shave' the bulls' horns by sawing off a few inches. This affects their co-ordination and makes the horns more sensitive to pain.

Other victims
The bulls are not the only victims in the arena. The horses used in classic Spanish-style are blindfolded so that they don't become frightened of the charging bull. They are often accidentally gored, as are some horses in Portuguese-style bullfights. We should also not forget that, occasionally, people are also killed in bullfights. In 2004, six people died in bullfights.

Children
From the age of nine, children are taught the 'art' of torturing and putting bulls to death in bullfighting schools. As part of the training, children learn to stab young bulls, which often suffer a great deal in the process due to the inexperience of the pupils. These schools are subsidised by the French and Spanish authorities.

In Catalonia, children under 14 are banned from attending bullfights, but there is no such restriction in the rest of Spain.

 

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