Everybody, Spanish or not, knows what bullfighting is all about. We have seen it on TV, the internet or live or at least we have heard about it. But one thing is clear: we all have an opinion about it.
What we offer below is food for thought and not in any sense an argument in favour or against it.
Have a look at the main points for and against it.
An animal is cruelly killed after having been tortured for a long time; the animal’s agony is patently observable throughout the “corrida”.
The spectacle appears to many as male chauvinist, primitive, ignorant and perhaps promotes the notion that it pertains to an uncultured and insensitive people.
In every country there are cruel activities against animals and bullfighting is not the cruellest of all.
The bulls used in bullfighting (“toros de lidia“) are given considerable freedom to roam the countryside in their infancy.
They are revered and enjoy a better quality of life prior to the combat than other farm animals bred for food.
Bullfighting is a very sophisticated art: the variety of “pases/faenas” (movements) are difficult to execute and the bullfighter (“torero/matador“) should display graceful and elegant movements.
The bullfighter will expect several injuries (“cogidas/cornadas“) throughout his career and he is perpetually risking his life; in fact, many have lost theirs in the bullring (“la plaza de toros“).
There are of course economic considerations:
The bullfight and all that surrounds it moves a lot of money (“mueve mucho dinero“): the box office can have rich takings, the bullfighters if successful enjoy an elevated economic and social status, the farmers who breed the bulls make a significant income, glossy magazines (which write about the bullfighters’ lives), sell well and television coverage can have high ratings.
More recently, bullfighting has been in the spotlight again in Spain due to the controversial issue about banning it or not in Cataluña.
After a process of a year and a half in the Catalan government, with a result of 68 votes in favour of banning bullfighting and 55 votes against the proposal, Cataluña says goodbye to this Spanish tradition.
The new ban will be in force from the 1st January 2012, so the Catalans have only one more year to enjoy the “fiesta”.
Now the big question remains: will the rest of Spain follow the Catalan example? As we say in Spanish: “La polémica está servida”.