Will bullfight be banned: controversy between supporters and defenders flares up
Will bullfight be banned: controversy between supporters and defenders flares up

For several millennia, on the Iberian Peninsula, there has been an entertainment consisting in a competition between a man and a bull. Bullfighting is considered one of the incarnations of the Spanish spirit. Nobody disputes its place in the national culture. However, the debate that has unfolded in recent years between supporters and opponents of this ancient game is getting hotter and it seems that the zealots of animal rights are gradually winning. It is possible that in a few decades the Spaniards will completely abandon this traditional "cruel sport" or it will transform into a less bloody spectacle.

Oddly enough, but the choice of an animal for bloody entertainment by the ancient Iberians was not made by chance, but out of great respect. During the Bronze Age, throughout the Iberian Peninsula and among the Mediterranean peoples, the bull was revered as a sacred animal. Most likely, the first battles were of a ritual nature. All the action and life of the animal was dedicated to the gods to whom this sacrifice was made. From such ancient "performances" associated with the sacrifice, which took place, of course, always in the presence of spectators, according to historians, theatrical performances originate.

By the end of the 15th century, the basic rules of horse bullfighting were established, this entertainment becomes the privilege of the noble class. Many caballeros, who recently fought with the Moors, wanted to show their prowess, now in public. Not a single holiday could do without such battles, arenas were built in all cities and "bloody sport" became a truly popular popular show. Foot bullfighting appeared, by the way, much later, towards the end of the 18th century, when people of lower classes, who did not have a horse or did not want to risk it, were allowed to take part in this action. By the way, besides Spain, bullfights are common in Portugal, southern France and Latin America. The largest arena in the world, for example, is located in Mexico City.

Bullfighting is the art of confronting a man and a bull

Until recently, bullfighting enjoyed immense popularity among the people and has truly become a part of the national Spanish culture. The silhouette of a bull is considered the unofficial symbol of this country. However, in recent decades, there has been a decline in interest in this art and a loss of respect for it. Polls among the population, conducted back in the early 2000s, showed that a third of Spaniards consider bullfighting to be a cruel spectacle, and the overwhelming majority are not interested in it. Today, according to experts, most of the income from bullfights comes from the constant influx of tourists who want to join the ancient Spanish tradition or just tickle their nerves.

Bullfighting arena in Barcelona

At the same time, numerous protests of animal defenders began, and today we can observe how these games with a thousand-year history are gradually losing their positions. In 2004, Barcelona was declared a "city free of bullfighting", in 2007 Spain refused to broadcast live fights on television, and bullfighting is prohibited in Catalonia and the Canary Islands. Animal advocates are often successful in countering the spread of these games to countries where bullfighting is not a historical tradition. For example, in Russia a similar plan failed in 2001-2002.Today, more and more cruel versions of the game associated with the killing of animals are being replaced by more humane ones that do not lead to their death.

Lydia Artamonova (Artamont) - the world's only Russian female bullfighter

The arguments of opponents of bullfighting are understandable in principle - they speak of cruelty towards animals and that a person can risk his life without involving bulls in it. However, supporters of ancient entertainment have their own reasons, which they also do not get tired of expressing. Of course, the main argument is the deepest roots of bullfighting in Spanish culture, in this case we can even talk about national identity. In addition, the actions of a bullfighter are undoubtedly an art. This is the definition given by the dictionary of the Royal Academy of Sciences of Spain. Well, another worthy and very logical argument is that a huge number of innocent animals all over the world die every day in slaughterhouses. They probably suffer no less than the bull in the arena, but at the same time they have absolutely no opportunity to survive. Bullfighting, by comparison, is a noble fight. The person in it also risks, and the bull has a chance of winning. By the way, the most worthy animals, who showed special valor in battle, will have an honorable old age in full satisfaction, they are, of course, left for breeding work.

Bullfighting is a fight in which the matador also risks his life

Bulls for bullfighting are special animals. Genetically, they are close to wild tours, which were successfully destroyed by humans throughout Europe in the Middle Ages. They are raised on special farms, where gobies enjoy great freedom and are kept in excellent conditions. Thus, thanks to the "bloody sport", a breed of animals that have become extinct on earth today was preserved. Supporters of bullfighting are sure that if it is completely banned, this unique species will be destroyed.

Opponents of bullfighting protest on a grand scale and very creatively

As for the honesty of this entertainment, then, of course, an experienced matador has much more chances of winning, but sacrifices and injuries are a feature of the profession, which people go to consciously. In just the last two centuries, more than sixty matadors, including very famous ones, and several hundred assistants - banderilleros, picadors and masters of ceremonies - have died in Spain, Portugal and France. At Madrid's Las Ventas arena, spectators and passers-by can see a monument to the fallen soldiers. Nearby is another unexpected memorial dedicated to the scientist Alexander Fleming, who discovered penicillin. Thanks to this, the number of deaths of matadors has decreased several times, since during their careers each of them receives several dozen injuries. By the way, if we talk about justice, next to these monuments it would be worthwhile to put another one - the picador horses, which are killed and maimed during battles no less. Now the situation is a little better, but even 100 years ago, horses in the arena were initially considered doomed to die.

Edouard Manet, The Dead Bullfighter, 1864-1865

Whether this tradition will be banned, because of which both animals and people are constantly dying, we will find out soon enough, since the actions of opponents of bullfighting are becoming more and more massive and spectacular. Most likely, in the coming years, the killing of bulls in the arenas will be prohibited, but the risks of people from this, most likely, will only increase.

Monument to the dead matadors in Madrid at the Las Ventas arena

Continue reading: Legend of Spain: the dramatic story of the short life of the famous matador Manolete

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