Bullfighting needs to end. It needs to end now.
The so-called “sport” of bullfighting originated in ancient Rome, alongside many other barbaric rituals which have long since become distant memories. In an era when public sentiment has turned so harshly against dogfighting, I cannot understand why support remains for bullfighting. Cultural heritage and history be damned. This blood sport belongs in the Middle Ages, not in 2010.
Last week, famed matador Julio Aparicio was gored in the throat by a bull during the Festival of Saint Isidro. (Note: Follow that link with caution as the pictures are extremely graphic.) Aparicio required several surgeries to save his life.
When an incident like this happens, it draws international attention to a situation that benefits from increased scrutiny. We have to ask ourselves: when a sport is cruel to the bulls, dangerous for the humans, and is a holdover from a time in human history when we forced prisoners to fight to the death for the amusement of the masses, why hasn’t anyone put a stop to it yet?
The bulls in a standard bullfight are drugged and confused animals, debilitated and run in circles by others who stab them with spears before the matador approaches to make the “kill shot” with his sword. Anyone who believes this fight to be fair, is mistaken. By the time a matador approaches to actually kill the bull, the animal typically has enough spears in his neck and back muscles to prevent him from fully lifting his head.
The recent history of bullfighting clearly shows the potential risk to the humans choosing to participate. Although matador injuries are not common, when they do occur, they are often horrific. Some bullfighting venues actually maintain in-house operating rooms and surgeons for emergencies.
My sympathies lie with the animals in the sport moreso than the humans because a person makes the choice to compete in the arena; the bulls do not. Julio Aparicio is rich from bullfighting and understands the risks he undertakes to be a bullfighter. It makes it difficult to feel bad for him. And he survived the fight; the bull did not.
For the sake of the animals involved, for the safety of the humans who participate, for the sake of elevating humanity out of an era relishing on a blood-thirsty fascination with death, gore and pain, bullfighting needs to become a thing of the past.