Spanish-style bullfighting is called the corrida de toros – the running of the bulls. In a traditional corrida, three matadores each fight two bulls. The bulls are at least four years old and weighs 460–600 kg. Each matador has six assistants — two picadores mounted on horseback, three banderilleros and a mozo de espada who carries his sword.
The modern corrida is highly ritualized, with three distinct stages, the start of each being announced by a trumpet. The participants first enter the arena in a parade to salute the presiding dignitary, accompanied by band music. The matadores are easily distinguished by their spectacular “suit of lights”.
Many supporters of bullfighting regard it as a deeply ingrained, integral part of their national cultures.
The aesthetic of bullfighting is based on the interaction of the man and the bull. Rather than a competitive sport, the bullfight is more of a ritual, judged by aficionados, based on artistic impression and command.
Ernest Hemingway said of it in his 1932 non-fiction book Death in the Afternoon: “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 honour.”
Bullfighting is seen as a symbol of Spanish Culture.
The bullfight is above all about the demonstration of style, technique and courage by its participants.
While there is usually no doubt about the outcome, the bull is not viewed as a sacrificial victim — it is instead seen by the audience as a worthy adversary, deserving of respect in its own right. Bulls learn fast and their capacity to do so should never be underestimated.
The moment when the matador kills the bull is the most dangerous point of the entire fight, as it requires him to reach between the horns, head on, to deliver the blow. Matadors are at the greatest risk of suffering a goring at this point. Gorings are not uncommon and the results can be fatal. Many bullfighters have met their deaths on the horns of a bull as can be seen in this video from 123dennie
Proponents of bullfighting also point out that the animal is subsequently eaten and so the animal’s death is not in vain. They also claim that the animal does not suffer greatly during the event – a good bullfighter will kill the bull efficiently.
Rather than a sport, bullfighting is seen as an art form and a cultural event, like a play or an opera.
Those who support the sport talk of the skill and agility that is displayed by those involved.
Bullfighting is an established part of Spanish culture and supporters say that others should try to understand and respect this.
The idea that abattoirs always kill in the most painless and efficient way is said to be a myth. With the number of bulls that die each year in bullfighting tiny compared to the number that die in the meat trade, the campaign against bullfighting is seen to be a waste of resources when there are far more animals dying in unfit slaughterhouses than in the bullring.
The European Union shows no sign of stepping in to ban bullfighting. It even actively promotes an event in Coria where a bull is taunted in the streets. Such activities are deemed to be “traditions, customs and a centuries old culture”.
There can be no argument that bull fighting is part of that culture .
And then of course there is surely the argument that what the f………….has it got to do with you in the first place – that is if you are not Spanish, or for that matter any of the other countries – France, Portugal, Mexico, Venezuela – or are we to assume that you are kind of like a world improver who likes to meddle in other peoples business and tell them how they should behave (aka George Bush and Tony Blair in Iraq).
Time out – we will examine the argument ‘against’ another time and would be delighted to hear from any reader of their own experiences and emotions.