13th August 2020
Stop the Bullfights - Peta
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Opinion: why bullfights should stay cancelled after Covid-19

The annual ‘Running of the Bulls’ festival in Pamplona normally starts on 7 July but this year was suspended due to Coronavirus. Back in April, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) organisation sent a letter to the Mayor of Pamplona, Enrique Maya Miranda, offering the city €250,000 if it agreed to permanently end the bull-running and subsequent bullfights.

Here is an opinion piece by Elisa Allen, director of PETA UK (first published 24 April).

Opinion: why bullfights should stay cancelled after Covid-19 

Amid the storm clouds of the Coronavirus pandemic, there’s at least one silver lining: we may emerge from this crisis knowing that a more compassionate world is possible. Many cruel industries have been shut down, at least for the time being. Life has gone on without them, and countless animals are enjoying a respite from human tyranny for the first time in their lives.

In Spain, hundreds of bullfighting events – including Pamplona’s Running of the Bulls – have been shut down because of the pandemic, preventing hundreds of bulls from being stabbed to death. Over 80% of Spanish people oppose cruel bullfights and bull runs, so why bring them back once the lockdown is lifted? Haven’t we all seen enough suffering and death? Intentionally causing more, is – and always has been – inexcusable.

Stop the Bullfights - Peta
PETA activists holding ‘Stop the Bloody Bullfights’ banners in Pamplona in 2018. (Photo: peta.org.uk)

If ever there were a ‘non-essential’ activity, it’s bullfighting. In fact, not only is the spectacle needless, it’s also barbaric and cowardly. From the moment the bull enters the ring from the dark alleyway into the blinding light, he doesn’t stand a chance. It’s not a fair fight.

ALSO READ: Activists stage ‘crime scene’ ahead of Pamplona’s running of the bulls

This archaic pastime is so violent that it bears describing: in a typical bullfight, men on horses run the bull in circles while repeatedly stabbing him in the neck and back with lances until he is drenched in his own blood. In spite of the notoriety that some matadors achieve, they come in only for the final blow, when the exhausted and weakened bull is already on the verge of death.

Pamplona
An image from the ‘Running of the Bulls’ in Pamplona on 14 July 2018. (AFP / Ander Gillenea)

Bullfighting promotes and fosters an atmosphere of aggression that extends well beyond the violence towards animals: the large number of incidents of sexual assault, rape, and other forms of violence against women reported during events such as the Running of the Bulls has prompted protests from women’s rights groups.

With bullrings closed during the pandemic, bullfighters are demanding financial support from the government to keep the industry afloat. Let’s hope they don’t get it, because there are countless better ways to use taxpayer money than to prop up a dying industry that tortures and kills animals – especially during an economic crisis. The government should focus on funding hospitals, schools, and other public services, which need all the help they can get.

While we’re all looking forward to the end of the pandemic, it would be a shame if we resumed cruel and unethical practices once it’s behind us. When the lockdown is over, the government must put an end to needless violence by banning bullfighting and promoting, instead, Spain’s many compassionate cultural traditions.

ALSO READ: Animal rights NGO starts petition against possible state aid for cancelled bullfights

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5 comments

Joan Deal 27th April 2020 at 8:58 pm

Please don’t let the cruelty start again.

Reply
C 20th May 2020 at 9:57 pm

Torture is not tradition, regardless of your political stance or your origin.

Reply
Lenox Napier 10th May 2020 at 11:32 am

The anti-bullfight articles which appear regularly in the English-targeted press (the Americans like bullfights) are almost used by the media as a form of Pavlovian clickbait. They are usually written by people who have never been to a bullfight, or who live comfortably in a city and think that meat comes from a supermarket.
Violence, she says. The cases of drunken hooligans after a football match not only beat hands-down the placid behaviour of post-bullfight supporters, since the truth is, being that its not a sport (it’s considered as art), there’s no losing team for its supporters to lament. No, bullfighting does most definitely not cause violence among its supporters – it is in reality a catharsis.
Yes, the bull will die. Six of them in the usual ‘corrida’. Fighting – that’s what they are bred for – against a man who is armed – until the last scene – only with a cape.
Contrast the average bullock, castrated and doomed to a short life in a pen, to be killed in the abattoir at eighteen months, with a toro bravo, who will live on a huge estate for between four or five years, to die nobly in a ring.

Reply
Blase 16th May 2020 at 12:31 pm

This anti-bullfighting article fits into the liberal trend to eliminate all tradition (“vanish the past” like the communist said) and build a bright-new Orwellian future

Reply
michael bernard 21st May 2020 at 6:09 pm

Please give no support to this vile pastime.
End Bullfighting.
Let the sick sadists who enjoy bullfighting fight with each other!

Reply

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