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Bullfighting, considered a tradition in Spain, Portugal, and several Latin American countries, involves the ritual killing of one or more bulls in a bullring. Fortunately, bullfighting is losing favor in many parts of the world. Unfortunately, a new type of bullfighting has come on the scene that is just as disturbing because it keeps alive the belief that man is “master over beast.” “Bloodless” bullfights are staged as entertainment in hotels and sports arenas. The bull is not killed but still must be made to perform. Bulls are often transported across country to different venues with little regard for their basic needs. They are then shoved into the spotlight to perform.

Life of a Bull

  • They are kept in dark places.
  • They are fed little food or water.
  • They are given drugs to reduce their energy level.

The Fight

  • To learn how to fight a bull, bullfighters practice on underweight heifers. These animals are dealt the same blows as bulls in the ring.
  • Picadors, men on horseback, drive stakes into the bull’s neck to provoke a reaction.
  •  Banderilleros shove spears into the bull’s shoulders.
  • The Matador flashes his red cape to tease and taunt the bull for a while before he stabs the bull between the shoulder blades and into the heart. If the bull is still alive after the assault, a ring assistant may have to cut the bull’s spinal cord to paralyze him before the kill is made.
  • Bulls are not the only ones to suffer during the fight. Horses are often gored by the bulls as the picadors try to drive the stakes into the bull’s neck. Some suffer such severe injuries they must be killed following the bullfight.

Equestrian Bullfights

  • Equestrian bullfighting takes place mostly in Portugal where it is considered a regal display of elegantly dressed riders and horses.
  • A single mounted rider faces the bull in a small ring alone.
  • The objective is not to kill the bull but rather to demonstrate the level of training demonstrated by the horse.
  • The bull is still stabbed by darts to make him more aggressive so he will charge horse and rider.

Running with the Bulls

  • Takes place in Pamplona, Spain.
  • The bulls run through the streets of Pamplona to the bull ring while a frenzied crowd tries to run one step ahead of the bull.
  • A variation on running with the bulls involves placing flammable material on the bulls’ horns and then letting the bulls loose. Usually, there is a fence separating the spectators from the bulls. Sometimes fireworks are attached to the horns as well. They can explode at any time.

Take Action to Help End Bullfighting

  • Educate your friends, family, and coworkers as to the cruel nature inherent in bullfighting.
  • If your state condones bullfighting, write state officials expressing your opposition to this “sport.”
  • Lobby to shut down bullfighting in your community.
  • Lobby to ensure regulations are changed to protect the animals.
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