18th April 2024
Stop the Bullfights - Peta
Blogs Opinion Spotlight

Opinion: why bullfights should stay cancelled after Covid-19

The annual ‘Running of the Bulls’ festival in Pamplona normally starts on 7 July but in 2020 it was suspended due to Coronavirus. The president of the Navarra regional government, María Chivite, has also announced that it will not be possible to hold the event in July 2021.

In April 2020, 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. (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.

An image from the ‘Running of the Bulls’ in Pamplona in 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

Recent Posts

Spotlight: maximise your returns when transferring money to Spain


Special offer for wine-loving readers: discover the exceptional wines of northern Spain

Matthew Desoutter

What makes Spanish wine special?

Matthew Desoutter

Enjoy a Calçotada with Torres Wine among the vineyards at Mas Rabell


Spotlight Focus: The ideal destination for Spanish businesses to thrive in Europe


Spotlight: Save money when transferring money to and from Spain in 2024



Joan Deal 27th April 2020 at 8:58 pm

Please don’t let the cruelty start again.

C 20th May 2020 at 9:57 pm

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

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.

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

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!

Dan 12th September 2020 at 6:16 am

The hilarious thing about anti-bullfighting activists is that each and every single one of them supports genocide of animals they don’t like.

Have a mouse? You know mice are intelligent and social creatures and that leaving out poison to slowly kill them or traps to break their necks or get them stuck in one place where they starve to death is inhumane right?

There are millions of “pest animals” that are exterminated every year (and don’t forget how bambi is a pest animal (because we killed off the predators to deers so the world would be safer to humans))

Hell, these bulls lead better lives than the meat in your hamburger lead. Most of that meat stayed locked up inside a stall not even big enough to move in and crammed full of antibiotics.

First you people need to give up all the animal torture you’re already doing and THEN throw your xenophobic opinions around. Saying “we’re better than that because we don’t watch enough PETA videos or consider just how insignificant these displays of violence are compared to the genocide humans already do.

If this was human vs human the same people complaining would still complain… it has nothing to do with animal rights so much as xenophobia. All culture must be approved by cis white americans.

Charles Knapp 19th February 2021 at 7:12 pm

My attitude towards people who don’t like the corrida is don’t go to them. I once sat next to an English lady in Las Ventas who started complaining practically the moment the alguaciles entered the ruedo. After a few cape passes, when she wouldn’t stop bitching, I bluntly told her to leave if she didn’t like it. So did some other people around us. She left.
PETA is a professional crybaby organization; the horror of it is that people give money to it. If its demonstrators (probably paid) didn’t have bullfighting to bitch about it would be something else. I think that people who have nothing better to do than gratuitously interfere in other peoples’ lives and pastimes should be kept at least two blocks away from whatever they are protesting.


Leave a Comment