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Thursday, 4 September 2008

Bull fighting in Spain

Today in the news channel on TV, I saw a matador getting seriously injured during the bull fighting and I was feeling sorry for him. I have noticed that TV channel in Canarias are no more showing the live coverage of bull fighting on their sports channel. Some years ago, it used to pain me to see the bull fighting events on TV. There was at least one channel on Spanish TV that would show bull fighting on its sports channel regularly. But last year Spain's public broadcaster, TVE, announced it was scrapping live coverage of bullfights for the first time ever, deeming them unsuitable for younger viewers. Thank God for that! Bull fighting seems to be the favourite sport amongst the Spanish people with tourist joining in this gory sport. While the bull is asking for mercy, the distinctly well-heeled members of the crowd shade themselves in white bowler hats sucking on cigars and merrily eating peanuts. As the matador proves his machismo, there is no talk of regional domination or cruelty; just a stunning chorus of ''ole¨ How do they cheer at the sight of blood? This is the most ritualised slaughter. There is unfair advantage of the matador, with bulls frequently given tranquillisers and laxatives to sedate them before fights, and petroleum jelly sometimes rubbed into the animals' eyes to hamper vision. The inevitable death is almost never swift, with only the most skilful matadors able to kill the bull with one thrust of the sword. You see the corrida (as it is called) with three distinct stages, each time announced by trumpet sound. The participants first enter the arena in a parade to salute the presiding dignitary, accompanied by band music. In traditional corrida, there are three matadores, each fight two bulls, Each matador has six assistants — two picadores ("lancers") mounted on horseback, three banderilleros ("flagmen"), and a mozo de espada ("sword page"). Collectively they comprise a cuadrilla ("entourage"). In first stage, the matadors confronts the bull, observes its behaviour and picador stabs a mound of muscle on the bull's neck, leading to the animal's first loss of blood In the next stage, the three banderilleros, each attempt to plant two razor sharp barbed sticks on the bull's flanks, ideally as close as possible to the wound where the picador drew first blood. In the final stage, the matador re-enters the ring alone with a small red cape and a sword. He uses his cape to attract the bull in a series of passes, both demonstrating his control over it and risking his life by getting especially close to it. He manoeuvres the bull into a position to stab it between the shoulder blades and through the aorta or heart. If he succeeds, you see the helpless bull crumble down on its knees, almost lifeless and sometimes it the unlucky matador who is tossed out of control and knocked on the ground. The cruelty and blood are the end products of this sport. While the bullfight is still exempt from Spain's anti-animal cruelty laws, recent developments suggest the anti-corrida movement may be gaining the upper hand. Bullfighting has been struggling to attract younger fans for years, and opponents hope less media coverage will lead to the sport's eventual extinction. It is an old debate: tradition versus modernity, culture versus cruelty. The low attendance of the younger generation at the arena is a good sign; bull fighting in the modern society will have no future.


  1. bullfighting in Spain is the only art in which the artist knowingly stakes his life and is also considered as a dance with death. It’s a part of a rich European culture. But we can’t overlook that it is a cruel sport and just for sake of tradition we can't support such inhuman sport.

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