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Bullfighting is Animal Cruelty

Bullfighting is Animal Cruelty

Bull fighting is practiced across the world and draws its origin from the Spanish culture. It entails letting one or more bulls into a ring, baiting them and finally killing them in front of a crowd. The very first bull fight occurred in 711 A. D during the crowning ceremony of King Alfonso VIII. Originally an aristocratic sport done on horse backs, bull fighting was adopted by the commoners around 1724 after a king’s directive to ban it for the aristocrats. Since horses were too expensive for the common folk, the used bulls instead.  From Spain, it spread to its colonies in central and South America. During the 19th century, it made its way to France where it grew to possess a unique form. Initially, bull fighting styles and techniques had distinct characteristics depending on the region in which it took place but the contemporary bull fighting styles are somewhat standard in nations that still practice it. The “classic” style, which entails the killing of bulls, is unique to Spain and numerous other nations in Latin America.

Bull fighters and pro-bull fighting supporters venerate bull fighting and site it to be an intricate component of their culture. They see a profound beauty in the manner in which man interacts with the bull during the fights and label it as an art because of the level of tact employed by the bull fighters in the bull ring. In fact, Ernest Hemingway in his 1932 book declared that, “Bullfighting is the only art in which the artist is in danger of death and in which the degree of brilliance in the performance is left to the fighter’s honor.” Anti- bull fighting activists on the other hand have disabused the above claims and stated that bull fighting is one of the cruelest acts of man towards animals in present day society. They further declare that cultural heritage is no excuse for this blood sport and call for its abolition in places where it is still exercised. Bull fighting is animal cruelty and should be banned because it is an abuse of animal rights, causes undue suffering to the bulls and it leads to death of the animals involved.

Animal rights are as set of principles that seek to protect the welfare and wellbeing of animals. These principles stipulate that in deciding what entails animal abuse, morals have a big role to play. Therefore, there are certain things which human beings should not do to animals as they would be morally wrong. These principles forbid acts such as animal experimentation, rearing of animals for food, medicine or clothes, using animals as a source of labor for strenuous manual tasks, hunting, use of animals for entertainment and any other activity that will cause the animals pain and suffering. Animal rights abuses therefore pertain to the activities that will contravene the principles stipulating animal rights.

Bull fighting is one such activity because it not only causes pain, suffering and death to the animals involved, but serves as entertainment. Arenas in which bull fights take part are usually full to the brim with wild crowds cheering as the bulls are subjected to endless torturous attacks by the bullfighters before finally meeting their demise. Tourism is said to play an integral part in the propagation of this heinous act. Tourists are deceived into believing that their trips to these countries would not be complete without a visit to a bull fight which is termed as one of the cultural heritages (“Bullfighting,” n.pag). Therefore, as long as the arenas will have local and touring spectators marveling at the barbaric act, animal rights abuses are sure to continue. Animal rights activists have condemned this act and further illustrated that there exists a difference between the necessary killing bulls for meat and the killing of bulls for the sake of fun. Pro-bull fighters have however countered this line of thought stating that the bulls do not die in vain because the meat is eaten afterwards. Further, they dispel any notion of great suffering on the animal’s part saying that a tactful bullfighter is most efficient in making a quick kill.

Bull fighting leads to undue physical and psychological suffering of the animals. The suffering takes place at three levels; the pre-fight treatment, the fight itself and the final degradation.  The pre-fight treatment begins approximately two days before the actual fight. During this time, the bull is enclosed in a dark stall without light or any water. This act alone has adverse psychological implications on the bull as it is a natural heard animal socially and so being separated from the rest of the flock traumatizes it (“Bullfighting”). Wet newspapers are bloated into the bull’s ears to impair its hearing ability while his vision is blurred through rubbing Vaseline into his eyes. Additionally, his respiration is restricted by means of cotton being stuffed up his nostrils.  Further, the pre-fight treatment involves the sticking of a needle into the bull’s genitals and causing it to lose balance by applying a caustic mixture onto his legs. This mixture also prevents the bull from lying on the ground. In addition to the above, strong drugs and laxatives are administered to the bull or added to his feed all of which compound to destabilize and incapacitate it before the day of the fight. The days in the dark room work well in disorienting the bull for when it is finally released into the light, it desperately runs about thinking that it has been set free only for it to be ushered into the ring for its final torment (“Bullfighting” ).

The fight, which is estimated to last for approximately 20 minutes, consists of three acts. A trumpet tune opens the first act in which the exhausted bulls are brought into the ring (“Bullfighting” ). The picadors, the men who ride on horsebacks, come in to exhaust the bulls further by thrusting picas at the bull. A pica is a sharp weapon estimated to be between 6-8 inches in length and 2 inches in width which when thrust into the bull, causes it to begin bleeding. Assistant matadors follow through with other sharp barbed weapons known as banderillas which are also thrust into the bodies of the bulls. A number of six such weapons may be plunged into the bull’s body causing it to bellow in agony. After tis, another trumpet is sounded that signals the final act which entails the actual killing of the bull. In comes the main matador who uses a sword to suck the last ounce of life from the bull. He uses the sword to severe an artery which is situated close to the heart. Ideally, one thrust is supposed to be enough in facilitating the kill but this is rarely the case as close to three thrusts are implemented(“Bullfighting”).

Finally, besides the bulls that succumb to the torturous acts, horses too lose their lives. The pre-fight treatment of the horses used in bull fights consists of a series of painful procedures similar to those implemented on the bulls but of a lesser intensity. They are blindfolded, their vocal chords are cut and wet newspapers are stuffed into their ears. While in the ring, they suffer from fatal attacks from the tormented bull. Even after severing gore injuries, horses are forced back into the bull fighting rings (“Bullfighting”).

Bull fighting is a barbaric act which only fosters animal suffering. It should not be tolerated in the present day society as its cultural significance is long overdue. This information is meant to inform people on the inhumane animal treatment that is ongoing in various parts of the world. Once informed, an overwhelming mass action towards the ban of bull fighting can then take place.

Works Cited

“Animal Rights.” bbc.co.uk., 2012. Web. 19 Sep. 2012.

“Bullfighting.” starbreezs.com., Web. 19 Sep. 2012.

” Corrigan, Damian. “Bullfighting- Art or Cruelty to Animals.” about.com., n.d.Web. 19 Sep.


Polak, Ruth. “A Short History of Bullfighting.” ezinearticles.com., Web. 19 Sep. 2012.

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