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Bullfighting: a blood sport

A matador inflicts multiple stab wounds to a bull

A Spanish bullfight sets a frightened and disorientated animal against up to eight men 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. Before these weapons can inflict incredible pain and distress, ensuring that blood loss weakens the bull, it is frequently kept in a darkened enclosure so that the bright lights temporarily blind it as well.

After approximately 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 dead carcass is dragged out of the arena, in readiness for another ‘fight’.

However, in the worst cases, the bull is still alive as it's 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 television station, RTP.

The Lisbon court also ordered that a permanent sign be displayed during all televised bullfights, stating the program 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

Science has shown that bullfighting inflicts massive suffering on the animals involved.

We do not accept the argument that offers cultural heritage as an excuse to kill defenseless animals.

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

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

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A matador taunts an injured bull, France