Bullfighting: a blood sport

A matador inflicts multiple stab wounds to a bull

A Spanish bullfight sets up to eight men against a frightened and disorientated animal in an enclosed ring.

During the fight the bull is tormented, weakened and brought to its knees by a variety of spears, spikes and daggers. These weapons inflict incredible pain and the distressed bull is weakened by blood loss.

After around 15 minutes of extreme suffering, the matador finally kills the exhausted bull. Many die drowning in their own blood because the matador’s inaccuracy often pierces their lungs instead of the heart.

Following this, a short dagger, or ‘puntilla’, is used to sever the bull’s spinal cord at the neck before the bull is dragged out of the arena. In the worst cases, the bull is still hanging onto life as it is hauled away.

This 'sport' is so violent that it is banned on TVE, Spain's state-run television channel, and has a court-appointed 10.30pm watershed on Portugal's state-owned televension station, RTP.

The Lisbon court also ordered that a permanent sign be displayed during all televised bullfights, stating the programme to be violent and having the potential to negatively influence young people.

These are not the actions of nations eager to retain links with and promote bullfighting.

No excuse for cruelty

WSPA knows bullfighting inflicts massive suffering on the animals involved.

We believe cultural heritage is no excuse.

It is shocking that bullfighting still exists in a European Union (EU), which prides itself on being a world leader in animal welfare.

The Amsterdam Protocol recognises that sentient animals – those capable of feeling fear and pleasure – should be protected from cruelty. This barbaric sport should not be an exception to this rule.


UN FSRB
WSPA