Vegan at a Bullfight

 

The third bull had just been dragged out of the arena. Three more would be tortured and killed before the night was out. But first it was time for a sandwich.

By now my friend Elena must have been fully regretting ever inviting me along. She’d noticed early on that I wasn’t clapping or cheering like the other thousand people in attendance, and she’d given up on the idea of posing for a photo with me when I told her I’d have trouble forcing a smile for the camera. And now here she was handing my vegan self a sandwich which she assured me was vegetarian.

You know, except for the bull blood.

I declined politely, much to her disappointment, and began tucking into my carrots and hummus. I glanced again at the flyer I’d received on entering the arena; A smiling, cartoon bull with his arm around a man in uniform, standing above the words “Fantastic Day.”

I thought to myself, no estoy de acuerdo.

What happens at a bullfight?

I shot some video while at the bullfight here in Burgos last Friday, and pieced together the following. Should give you a fair idea of how the whole thing transpires…

Can’t see the video? Click here.

The cliff notes:

  1. A bull is released into the arena. He usually weights about 500kg.
  2. There are at least a half-dozen toreros (bullfighters) out there with him. If the bull gets too close, they can take cover behind the wooden barriers at the edge of the arena.
  3. Each torero takes a turn with the bull, getting him to charge at their pink capes as they step to the side and avoid getting hit.
  4. They bring out a guy on a padded and blindfolded horse. He has a big spear, which he sticks into the back of the bull, making sure to draw blood.
  5. Once that dude on horseback is done, the toreros take turns running at the bull and sticking blades in his back. They usually get about 6-8 stuck in there.
  6. Now that the bull is significantly weakened and bleeding profusely, a torero in especially fancy pants comes out with a red cape and does more of the ¡Ole! thing.
  7. After a few minutes of that, it’s time to end the fight. The torero takes out his sword and positions himself in front of the bull. He gets the animal looking down at his cape, then rushes towards him, jumps to one side and thrusts the full length of the blade down through the bull’s shoulders. The crowd cheers.
  8. A few other toreros rush out and surround the bull, wearing him down that last bit until he collapses from the pain.
  9. Main torero dude gets out a dagger and stabs the bull in the back of the head once or twice, until he keels over, finally dead. Then they cut off his ears.
  10. Horses are brought out to drag away the dead bull. There’s a big red streak left behind in the sand, but they have several guys on hand to rake it back all nice like.
  11. The main torero then walks a victory lap of the arena. The crowd gives him a standing ovation and lots of applause as he picks out some cute kids in the stands and tosses them a bloody ear.
  12. And then they do it all again, five more times.

Why go?

Several people have asked how I can be vegan and go to a bullfight. Well, the answer is pretty simple: I went because I wanted to go.

I knew I wasn’t going to like what I saw there and I by no means support the torture and killing of any animal. But just because I disagree with something doesn’t mean I don’t want to experience it. I was interested to see first-hand what a bullfight was like, even if it made me feel uncomfortable. I figured I might be able to learn something from the experience, for better or worse.

I’ll probably go see the slums while I’m in India next year, too. I’m not going to avoid extreme poverty simply because I’d rather it didn’t exist in the world. I want to see the ugly as well as the beautiful, and note whatever feelings arise inside of me. I want to test my assumptions first-hand and find out who I really am.

Loose labels

I call myself vegan because it helps people get a quick idea of who I am and what I’m about. But I refuse to let that or any other label define me. It certainly won’t keep me from attending a bullfight if that’s what I feel like doing.

I’d ask that you don’t live your life according to some vegan guidebook, or any other book for that matter. Call yourself whatever you want, but don’t do so at the expense of your own free-thinking.

I have the utmost respect for some meat eaters I know, and that’s because they’ve thought long and hard about their choices. I’ve met plenty of veg-heads who haven’t. Sticking to a plant-based diet often becomes just another set of rules for them to follow, somewhat consciously, but somewhat not. For example, they’ll never consider eating oysters because oysters aren’t vegan, even though eating them might actually be cool from an ethical standpoint.

I ask you, what’s more important: Staying true to a label, or staying true to yourself?

Lessons from the slaughter

I did learn a few things at the bullfight. Such as: We need to be wary of the approval of others. Those toreros are treated like heroes, are paid handsomely for what they do, and are unlikely to be sitting home lonely on a Saturday night. I guess in their minds that makes it okay to torture and kill severely over-matched and less intelligent animals. I expect they’d reconsider if the spoils were absent.

I also learned that bullfights are actually quite boring. Each fight is entirely predictable, following the exact same sequence as I laid out above. This leads me to believe that most people in attendance don’t come to cheer on the animal abuse, but for the social aspect of it all. They meet their friends, they have a few drinks, they eat their blood sandwiches, just like their parents and grandparents before them. I imagine that if bullfighting were suddenly made illegal here in Spain, some other social event would spring up to take its place.

From that aforementioned flyer I was reminded of how easy it can be to influence kids. I saw the cutest little girl riding on her dad’s shoulders on the way out of the arena, a huge smile on her face. I thought of the lessons she’d just learned, about what constitutes as courage and heroism and the acceptable treatment of animals. I spoke to another friend of mine yesterday, and she assured me that bullfighting is not as cruel as it seems. Apparently my understanding is lacking. You see, according to her, bulls are strong animals that don’t feel much pain. A knife in the back to them is like a slap on the wrist to you or me. I suspect she learned this when she was young and it’s been her convenient truth ever since. I sincerely doubt that anything I ever say or write will convince her otherwise.

But I can’t claim superiority. I was there for one evening and even I felt myself growing less compassionate. The death of that sixth bull didn’t hit me as hard as the first. I became somewhat numb to it. I can only imagine if I’d been attending bullfights since childhood, never knowing any different, nobody ever encouraging me to question the ethics of it all.

Fifty years from now

I now find myself much less satisfied to be living in Spain, a place where such a thing as bullfighting is considered normal and lawful. Inflicting that much pain and torture on an animal in the name of what? Fun? Culture? Tradition? I still can’t wrap my head around it.

Slavery was once normal and lawful, too. Doesn’t mean it was all fine and dandy. We tend to look back nowadays and think Wow, how did slavery ever happen? And how come women weren’t allowed to vote? And why did gay people suffer so much discrimination?

All of these things seem so ridiculous today, but they were very normal way back when. Makes me wonder what our children and grandchildren will one day think of our current definition of normalcy. I like to believe that future Spanish generations will look back on bullfighting and shake their heads in disbelief, wondering how something so barbaric could ever have been considered acceptable.

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38 Comments

  1. what’s more important: “Staying true to a label, or staying true to yourself?”

    I think of it more as even if you didn’t agree with it, shouldn’t you view it first-hand to actually understand why people like it? Then you would have more proof as to why you don’t support it, rather than following a label and saying “nope. it’s bad.” without seeing it.

      • I totally agree with why you attended the event. I witnessed my second son’s circumcision procedure at the hospital only 24 hrs after his birth. Why? Because I felt I should witness what I just subscribed my offspring to endure. I knew I wouldn’t like it, was strong enough to stomach it, but felt somewhat obligated. So now, if the topic ever comes up in conversation, I have something firmer to stand on regarding my perspective. Strangely, I’d do it again if I have another male child. *shrug*

  2. You can simply google “bullfighting cruelty” and come up with countless similar articles and journals.

    Are you sure you did this for the right reason, and not simply to rack up a ton of blog hits? From your entry, you stated that there were around 1,000 people at the fight. That’s not very many – especially when compared to American or European sports audiences. By going to the fights (even if you didn’t spend a dime), you had your ticket scanned or torn, and your seat was one more that was occupied.

    It’s a similar question that was asked about your Random Acts of Courage – were you really doing them to help others or just to generate buzz? I think the same could legitimately be asked about this quest.

    • Good question, Mike, and something I’ve thought long and hard about. I can say with all sincerity that I didn’t do this simply to generate buzz. If anything, it would have been much, much easier not to address such a controversial topic.

      There’s a good chance I’ll offend many of my friends here in Spain with my views on bullfighting, and I’ll surely have to deal with a bunch of trolls online. But I figure that it’s worth it for the possibility to get some of my readers thinking about this and not just turning a blind eye.

      And sure, I’m not the first to write an article condemning bullfighting. I wasn’t aiming to be. Just writing my truth is all.

  3. I was at a bullfight myself years ago during a school tour, wasn’t bloody cheap for one thing! Some of us enjoyed it ( I was one of them, admittedly ) , others were completely disgusted by it.

    That aside, it was different to say the least. Would I agree with it? Not entirely. Would I go shoving my view point down other people’s throats? No, I wouldn’t.

    Its just the culture, different to ours in many ways, similar in others. Also, I understand your less happy with living in Spain over watching a bullfight but you need to be careful with letting one thing like this paint your picture of Spain. There are Spanish who oppose bullfights too, you know.

    Still, I respect your view and like the fact you want to see both the good and bad aspects of the culture your in.

    • Thanks for the comment, Adrian. Bullfights definitely aren’t cheap. My ticket was free, but I believe it was valued at about €50. No wonder those toreros are loaded.

      And yes, I realize that there are many great things about Spain. I’m not going to write off the whole country because of this one thing. I doubt I’ll ever find a country where I agree with everything that happens there.

      “Its just the culture”

      I have to take exception to this. I don’t believe that should excuse what happens at a bullfight. Women are oppressed in many parts of the world under the guise of culture, but that doesn’t make it right.

  4. The vegan label irks me as well and I try my best not to use it or even bring it up but when someone does notice that my plate is “missing” meat and/or dairy, I use the plant based wording. Even that gets some strange reactions. “what?!! You eat plants!!??”

    But for the most part I have encountered support and curiosity all around me on my vegan journey. I went vegan for the environment, then my health and then the animals. Once I stopped eating animals I was able to open my eyes to the horrors of animal abuse. I think before I was just in denial. Anyway, I think it’s a great thing that you experienced a bull fight and now have a first hand account on which to form an opinion. To me that is very courageous. I can barely watch a 1 minute YouTube video on animal cruelty without freaking out. Give me some of your bravery please!!

    • Thanks, Tali! I’m sure many people will disagree that what I did was courageous though. I guess it’s all about perspective :-)

      I went through a similar awakening as you when I went vegan. One of the last reasons I did it was for animals. But once I was a few months deep I started to see things much differently. That’s the main reason I encourage people to experiment with their diet. I don’t expect everyone to turn vegan, but try that and some other diets for a while to see how it changes your view of the world.

  5. I love this post. My boyfriend is a vegetarian (no meat, fish or eggs, but he DOES eat cheese and ice cream). I don’t think I could get him to go to a bullfight, even for the anthropological experience. It’s good to see that there are some people who are open to seeing cultures and practices outside their own, even when it conflicts with their values.

  6. I do not get much less appreciate bull fights, dog fighting, rooster fighting — they are all barbaric to me. But then so is hunting any animal of any sort and even fishing seems cruel. I have even lost my taste for guns since my days on the US Army CENTO small arms competition team in Europe.

    Anyway, hello from a small town in southern Arizona, USA! If Spain has lost it’s appeal, where to next?

    • Thanks for the comment! Next I’ll be heading back to Ireland in mid-August. Will stay home for a month or so and then it’s off on my RTW adventure :-)

      “But then so is hunting any animal of any sort and even fishing seems cruel.”

      A friend of mine on Facebook caused me think twice about this last week. She made a point that hunting and fishing are far less cruel than the meat industry, and I can’t help but agree. Picking up some shrink-wrapped beef at the grocery store contributes to more cruelty than going out into the woods and shooting a deer. At least that deer got to live a wild and free life before meeting a sudden end, whereas that beef likely comes from a cow that never got to eat real grass.

      • I find it interesting that you make a distinction here. I agree that an animal that lives its life “wild and free” before it dies is somehow more acceptable. With that in mind you would have to agree that the “toro bravo” gets to enjoy that life much more so than its relatives that fill the stockyards. Add to that a chance to shine and die a noble death and it seems to me that this may in fact be a far more humane way to die. Add to that the test of courage faced by the torero in the “Fiesta Brava” and I would think this is far less a demonstration of cruelty than it is a show of strength, beauty, pageantry, and bravery. The representation of the Greek tragedy only helps to put it into a context we can better understand.

      • Yes, apparently these bulls do get to live pretty good lives before they enter the ring. But I don’t believe that excuses the torturous way they are killed. I find it hard to see any nobility, strength, beauty, pageantry, or bravery in it.

        A better life than their relatives in the stockyards? Yes. A better death? Methinks not.

  7. Hey, Niall. Personally, I refused to go to a bullfight when I was in spain. I did see them on tv, however.

    I’d say that they’re a vulgar, disgusting spectacle, more than anything else. Then main thing is not the blood and guts, it’s the fact that the “toreros” act as though they’re some macho males when in reality they are massive cowards. Every time I saw bullfighting on tv and the bull was winning, the cowardly “torero” was taken behind the little wooden wall by a bunch of guys who ran out to help him. What a disgrace! They are cowards, pure and simple. Fight, or don’t fight. What they do is a farce. Literally, when they can’t take the heat, they run out of the bullring.

    Unlike Hemingway, I see no “beauty” in the spectacle. What I do see is a bunch of *ssholes torturing a bull for no good reason and getting their jollies through it. They are a disgrace.

    By contrast, in the more “primitive” societies, like among the North American indians, killing an animal is done with respect and regret at its suffering. It’s a necessity of life, there. You kill for meat or die of starvation.

    Bullfighting: Yet another reason I never recommend spain, except for Galicia, Cantabria and Asturias, where the people don’t engage in this sort of crap.

    That’s about it!

    • Bullfighting is a disgusting “sport” and I will never, in any way, support it. As happens to be the case with tons of other Spaniards who are totally against bullfighting (it’s actually illegal now in Catalonia).

      Please don’t write off most of a country because of an atrocious habit part of its inhabitants choose to enjoy. Spain has its defects, like any other country, but it also has the most amazing virtues, as any other country (yes, even those “bozos” in Andalucía, where I happen to live… and love to bits). We don’t all support bullfighting and it seems quite unfair to assume as much. I definitely think younger generations are more and more against it… I hope we’ll all follow in Catalonia’s stead and end up abolishing it completely.

  8. Hey Niall,

    We have some weird traditional celebrations sticking in Europe… Some are funny like cheese rolling other are more difficult to understand.

    I am not a vegan but that does not make me justify animal cruelty. I eat meat because I like it. I try to limit my consumption of beef or other high carbon footprint meat. My father in law hunts – 2 to 3 dears per year. And he gives us a lot of meat. The meat is good and no industrial process was used to prepare it. I think it’s better from a nature point of view. Last year I went hunting with him. I was just watching. I wanted to experience it like you wanted to experience bullfighting. And I actually enjoyed most of it. The animal was killed with respect. This was not the easy part and a lot went through my head, I noticed my father in law didn’t like this part either.

    And I thought about a Mic-mac indian museum I visited before. In the museum, the guide (from an indian family) explained how hunting is not about the hunter running after the animal, but the animal offering himself to the hunter.

    You may think I am trying to make it sound nice but I had this feeling when the dear was killed. For sure there was no cruelty at all but a lot of respect for the animal.

    Oh I am finishing this comment and realize that you already commented on hunting above…

    Anyway, thank you for sharing this experience Niall. Take care!

    • Thanks for sharing, Manu.

      I’m not a fan of hunting personally, but I respect the point of view you pose. If someone is willing to go and kill a wild animal themselves, doing it as quickly as possible (no torture) and then eating the carcass afterwards… well that’s one thing. The world would be a much better place if that was the only way we killed animals and got our meat fix.

      • Niall Doherty again as a vegetarian, if bullfighting is abolished then that’s fine with me. But with bullfighting, they do eat their kills as most hunters eat their kills. I agree that if people hunt for food then it must be a quick kill. Since 95% of Spaniards eat meat (only 5% of Spaniards my guess are vegetarians) with most eating beef, it’s hard to get laws against bullfighting for second reason as mentioned by me earlier-they do eat their kills. The restaurants & markets would get some of the beef from bulls killed in bullfights so it’s hard to get this illegal because thinking would be that if they eat beef, it’s contradictory to be against bullfighting which gives their food.

        Also Niall Doherty I read your post a second time & you raised topic of gay rights. I hope you let me comment on this but I don’t believe gays & lesbians are a group comparable to ethnicities. Even if orientation doesn’t change, I see something wrong with gay/lesbian sexual behaviors & that it’s best for them to be celibate. Gays/lesbians don’t choose orientation but they do choose their sexual behaviors. I also see something wrong with transexuality & they should make it a crime to do sex changes as it’s surgically mutilating a person to make them fake opposite sex members.

        My reason for bringing this is that me being a vegetarian proves that not all vegetarians are leftists. Gay/lesbian sexual behaviors are often result of childhood sex abuse & many gays (33%) were victims of homosexual rape in youth. I have never heard a straight person such as a man blame sex abuse for the reason he is married to a woman & has kids with her but I sometimes hear gays & lesbians blame bad things such as childhood sex abuse for adult homosexual behaviors. Gay/lesbian sexual behaviors are comparable to drug junkyism & they’re bad for health. I hope you’ll allow both my posts.

  9. Read Death in the Afternoon, and you’ll see.

    I eat meat, as I’ve said before. When I went vegan for 30 days, I felt so bad it was unbelievable. But I’ve been studying biochemistry for a few years now and know that certain people need more animal foods. There’s a pretty good book called Eat Right 4 Your Type, which I think is pretty accurate.

    For example, people with a lot of stress don’t do well as vegetarians. Hormones are made from DHEA, which is in turn is made from cholesterol. If you don’t eat cholesterol and you need it, your body has to MAKE MORE. Tiring you out even more. You can never have hormonal balance being stressed and not eating cholesterol. On the other hand, people who tend not to worry about anything have a different metabolic constitution and can go vegetarian, usually. Then they avoid all the crap that’s in meat, too, like, oh, fourth-generation antibiotics, hormones, etc…

    Anyways, eating meat for survival is one thing and killing bulls as a feel-good spectacle is entirely different. Eventually, I think you’ll see that spain will become tiresome, as they now blame the “extranjeros” for most of their problems. You wouldn’t believe the stuff I experienced there, and I’m from rich country! They are the biggest bozos I’ve ever seen.

    • Agreeing with you again, Dean (well, except for the bozos part).

      I see veganism as something of a luxury, one that most people on the planet can’t afford. I wouldn’t begrudge anyone an omnivorous diet if they need it to survive.

      I’m also not convinced that everyone can maintain good health on a vegan diet. There’s never been a comprehensive study that proves so conclusively. Many people have told me that they’ve tried veganism and it didn’t work for them. I’m not arrogant enough to assume that they were just incompetent or undisciplined.

      And I’m not even sure I’ll always be vegan. The most important thing for me is my health so if veganism stops working for me, I’ll abandon it.

      • I definitely think the bozo quotient is high in spain. But it also depends on the region. What I call andalustan is the worst by far. The Catalans are a lot more civilized, for example.

        I agree, health is #1 priority. I did a lot of experimenting and found a very good diet for me. I’ve been following it for 3 years and it’s working great. So you should do what works for you. If you have energy and feel good, continue. That’s what I say.

  10. Wow, I don’t know where to start. Okay, firstly – you are my brother from another mother.

    That thing about seeing the ugly with the beautiful was scarily similar to a conversation I had with my Mother. I am really interested in visiting Auschwitz and my Mother thinks I need to lie down and talk to a Psychiatrist or something.

    I said “just because you bury your head in the sand, it doesn’t mean bad stuff doesn’t happen.”

    I am against bull fighting and although I eat meat, I’d rather eat my own toes than eat battery eggs or some sort of inhumanely killed animal. I however, WOULD go to the bull fight for same reasons as you and for one more slightly different.

    It’s the same reason I watched a MMA match the other night. The American version – when it’s perfectly acceptable to punch the shit out of the back of someone’s neck while you lay on top of them!! (Don’t get me started). I am truly against it and prefer boxing which is less brutal and more noble (Unless you’re that Gobby British bloke), but when I argue/debate with a MMA fan – I want to know what the hell I am talking about and have 100% conviction in what’s coming out of my mouth.

    This relates to what much of you are saying in the post. Nicely diplomatic!

    Sorry for the longest reply in history haha, the lad up there knows his shit about that book! T’is an interesting read indeed. *aaaaaand breathe*

    • Mi hermano de otra madre!

      Thanks for that, Ant.

      It’s definitely a good idea every now and then to take a hard look at stuff you don’t agree with, or that makes you feel uncomfortable. I could actually have done a much better job with bullfighting. Would have been interesting to chat with one of the toreros and try to understand where they’re coming from. As much as I’d like to write them off as heartless savages, I’m sure the truth is much more complex.

      • Ha ha, I’ve seen a few interviews with those idiots on tv, so I can tell you where they’re coming from. They attach the label “art” to the spectacle and then talk about how it’s about “bravery,” and so on… BULL-shit!

        Here’s an idea: If I see a torero say “I torture bulls for a living and rationalize it as art, because it is ritualized” then I might consider the guy brave. Brave enough to admit his own lies, that is.

  11. I often resist using labels to describe myself for this very reason. It’s like giving people yet another standard by which to judge you. I’ve been told I’m not a vegan because I use honey. I’ve never taken the time to visit a bee farm to explore the process of extraction for myself but after having it described to me by a beekeeper I was comfortable with my decision. Honestly the animal rights aspect of veganism isn’t what influenced my decision to forgo meat. I was more interested in the health aspects – alleviating my allergies and such, but since becoming a vegan I’ve become very sensitive to the feelings of others, be it animal or human. I went from being a young person who loved horror movies to an adult who can’t stand them. It is possible to be re-sensitized if one removes themselves from such things long enough. Thank you for sharing this experience. Not knowing anything about a real bullfight I most likely would have accepted such an invitation thinking it is something like a rodeo! Ay dios! What a shock that would be! I’m sure something like this is bound to cross my path sooner or later. I’ve seen a whole lot of ugly in this world already. I’m not sure I want to go looking for more but you’ve put the thought in my mind about testing my own assumptions.

    • I was expecting something like a rodeo, too! I didn’t know they actually killed the bull until my friend told me. I thought they just brought him out, made him charge the cape a few times, and then whisked back to the stud farm. How wrong I was.

      “since becoming a vegan I’ve become very sensitive to the feelings of others, be it animal or human”

      Same here. It’s kinda spooky actually. Compassion is a great thing and being vegan definitely seems to help me with that. It will be interesting to see if I ever go back to eating animal products if I become less sensitive.

      Thanks for the comment, Tracy :-)

  12. Talking about labels, I’m amazed by how fond that Dean guy is of them and how simplistic he is on his statements about Spanish people and regions. I’m Spanish, from Cádiz (Andalucía), by the way, and I don’t support bullfights at all.

    Cheers, Niall. I just hope all this bullfight thing doesn’t leave a bad taste of Spain. It’s a pitty you will be leaving without getting to know much more than Burgos. There are great sites to visit all around the country, and I’m sure you would find that bozo thing is completely out of place, as are Dean’s comments, in my opinion.

    • Thanks for that, Angel. I’m definitely not going to draw any broad conclusions on Spain based on that one event, but it saddens me nonetheless that bullfighting is such a staple of the culture here.

      I do hope to see a little more of the country before I leave next month, although I’ll probably be sticking to the Northern part. I’ve heard nice things about the South though, especially that the people there are much more warm and friendly from the outset.

  13. I’m Spanish and I’m afraid you’re forming a way too disturbed image of Spain on this topic. My experience, having lived over 20 years in Madrid, is that the majority of the population, specially young people, don’t care at all about bullfighting and many dislike it and criticize it, so it is not really a “staple” of the Spanish culture. In the whole region of Cataluña it’s actually now completely forbidden. I cannot vouch the following, but according to these statistics “only” the 30% of Spaniards are interested in these events.

    Even if I can guess you chose Burgos because there you don’t find that many tourists, good to learn the language, I cannot really understand what you’re doing there. At least I wouldn’t never recommend it for foreigners wishing to know more about Spain. It’s also a more traditional city and it’s therefore logical that this cultural practice is there more accepted.

    As for me, I always considered “las corridas de toros” just torture.

    Un afectuoso saludo.

    • Hey Juan, thanks for the comment. Always good to get some insight from a Spanish person on this. From what I’ve heard, the numbers you posted look pretty accurate. I’m aware that many folks in Spain are not in favor of bullfighting, and I suspect the “sport” will continue to lose fans as the years go by.

      I don’t mean for this post to be an attack on the whole country or culture. My intent is just to convey my own experience. You could probably go to Ireland and find some unflattering things there, too.

      Thanks again.

      • Hi Niall, I agree to every word of Juan Miguel. I am half Spanish, I lived in Spain two thirds of my life, and I never went to a bullfight. I don’t even know the bullfighters, or the rules of the gruesome thing.

        The main leisure activity for Spanish people is soccer, actually. I do not like it either (but at least they are not torturing anyone), but even though I do not follow the sport, I do know (probably through osmotic pressure) the names of the main players, the main teams, and when a big match is ongoing.

        With few exceptions, the only people I know that has ever gone to a bullfight is people from the deep countryside (most of them quite violent), and curious tourists (like you).

        My feeling is that we are witnessing the last decades of this charade, so the spectacle will be banned in the rest of the country, not just in Catalonia or the Canary Islands. Probably, just because bullfights are (embarrassingly) a Spanish thing, you will find most anti-bullfight people here as well.

        Beidh am a insint.

      • Niall Doherty something I thought of is that when you went to the bullfight, you should’ve asked spectators how many of them have pets. My guess would be that some of the bullfighters & some of the bullfighting spectators do have pets such as dogs, horses & so on. They like their dogs because their dog is their friend while with bullfights, the bull is killed for the food. It’s the same as a hunter-some hunters have pets such as dogs (hunting dogs), cats & horses which they like & care for but the animal they hunt such as the deer, they see it as food.

  14. As a vegetarian, if bullfighting is outlawed then that is fine with me. I lived in Spain from 1981 to 1984 (almost 2.5 years) & in October 2012 visited Spain for the first time in over 28.5 years. My thoughts are this.

    The bulls are killed for food. Spain has 17 communities with animal welfare laws in each state but bullfighting is illegal in Canary Islands & Catalonia.

    Thing about bullfighting is that if you eat beef, then is it contradictory to oppose bullfighting. Seeing interviews with bullfighters, they seem like ordinary people. My guess is that some of the bullfighters have pets such as dogs, cats & so on. But when it comes to bullfighting, they think of the bull as food. A hunter’s view of animal welfare differs from that of a non-hunter. Hunters believe in animal welfare if it relates to their pets but not so as it relates to animals they hunt for food.

    So if they decide to make bullfighting illegal in Spain & other nations, then it’s fine with me. But they do kill the bulls for food.

  15. I’ve only ever seen bullfighting on Spanish TV, it at first horrified me then as I learned more about it, and to be honest ignored the grotesque nature of the spectacle, interested and then fascinated me. At first all we (those that know little about it) see is the bull, the Spanish are watching the bullfighter, the grace and poise which he exhibits is like a dance. It’s just a group of men showing that they’re ‘better’ than the powerful, beautiful beast in front of them in reality. It’s nothing to do with meat or if the bull will ‘win’ but all about the choreography.