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Bullfighting Isn’t Culture, It’s Cruelty

Bullfighting Isn’t Culture, It’s Cruelty

NOTE: This is a guest post from Kitty Block, an attorney with expertise in international legal adjudication
and agreements. She serves as Humane Society International‘s vice president.

Bullfighting — a horrible spectacle of animal abuse that ends in the slow and tortuous death of an animal provoked and repeatedly gored with knives and swords — is justly in decline. The torment and stabbing to death of animals for amusement can never be acceptable.

In an unbelievable turn of events, however, with so much of the world opposed to the cruelty, bullfighting’s defenders are now seeking to claim their barbarism as a cultural asset under the terms of a United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization Convention.

It ought to be obvious in the 21st century that such wanton animal cruelty can never be justified as a cultural privilege. The campaign to classify bullfighting as some kind of a cultural treasure is nothing more than a futile attempt to resuscitate a fading commercial industry that is being abandoned wholesale by both the public and politicians throughout the world. Over the last decade, scores of governments have voted to ban bullfighting, and many more are currently considering action to suppress it.

Even in the countries where bullfighting has traditionally thrived, support for the blood sport is waning, and sponsors are not making enough money to keep it alive. Increasingly, it is being subsidized by governments, a wholly inappropriate use of public funds. Subsidies are meant to address a common good and to help society. Bullfighting doesn’t fall into that category by any measure.

To great acclaim last year, politicians in Catalonia, Spain voted to outlaw bullfighting in that region. The last bullring in Barcelona will shut down this summer, while a popular shopping and entertainment complex has already spring up on the site of a former bullring in the city.

All of these developments make the initiative within UNESCO perplexing, to say the very least. An international body charged with honoring and safeguarding our global cultural heritage should not be asked to dignify a blood sport on any grounds, and it ought not consider such a proposition either, for a public spectacle that allows an animal to be tormented, taunted and cowed by men wielding barbed sticks, swords and knives can never be worthy of protection.

The presence of animal cruelty erodes the fabric of any civil society, with serious effects, most notably its tendency to desensitize children to violence. Bullfighting — a conspicuous form of animal cruelty — is no different from any other, and it is deserves no quarter within or outside of UNESCO as a manifestation of human culture.

Photo credit: HSI

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167 comments

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12:20PM PDT on Sep 18, 2014

It is the spirit of blood lust and this spirit is evil! Many more people are giving in to it. But I believe the Care2 kindness activism CAN OVERCOME it and win!! Let's do it Care 2! For the animals. :) we can easily get mor than 1 million to sign this.

12:20PM PDT on Sep 18, 2014

It is the spirit of blood lust and this spirit is evil! Many more people are giving in to it. But I believe the Care2 kindness activism CAN OVERCOME it and win!! Let's do it Care 2! For the animals. :) we can easily get mor than 1 million to sign this.

12:20PM PDT on Sep 18, 2014

It is the spirit of blood lust and this spirit is evil! Many more people are giving in to it. But I believe the Care2 kindness activism CAN OVERCOME it and win!! Let's do it Care 2! For the animals. :) we can easily get mor than 1 million to sign this.

6:50AM PDT on Mar 11, 2013

Let's put the humans who want bullfights in the ring as tho they were the bulls!

7:25AM PST on Feb 27, 2013

MAY BE THE ...SUPPOSINGLY MEN IN THOSE COUNTRIES FELL SO SMALL.... THAT BY DOING THIS OR WATCHING IT THEY THINK THEY ARE REAL MACHO MEN....

MACHO IDIOT AND CRUEL CERTAINLY!!

These "cultural practice" should be banned for good in any country!


8:59PM PST on Feb 23, 2013

Humans who actually enjoy watching bullfighting, going to rodeos and watching the calf roping, etc have to be sadistic in nature. Bull fighting and rodeos need to end.

10:57AM PDT on Oct 22, 2011

BULLFIGHTING IS MURDER!!!!

8:01AM PDT on Sep 29, 2011

bullfighting and rodeos must be made illegal because it's just cruel and sadistic. there is no point except for the stupid amusement of idiots.

7:48PM PDT on Sep 7, 2011

I dont enjoy to watch a bullfighter just to kill a bull at the end. it's must be banned!!!

4:10PM PDT on Sep 7, 2011

culture or not, there's a reason so much of what our ancestors did are today relegated to the dustbins of history. it's time for bullfighting to be tossed into the trash too.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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