Bullfighting, for or against?

Bullfighting in Spain (in Spanish corridas de toros) has its origins in the Greco-Latin culture, although it wasn’t until the 18th century that this fiesta didn’t become what it is today.

This show consists on fighting bulls, either afoot or on horseback (like it was done in the past) in an enclosed area called the bullring. There are various participants in this fight: the toreros, the lancers, the flagmen, amongst others. As for the animal, they use Spanish fighting bulls, because they never stop attacking when they have something or someone moving in front of them.

Bullfighting is the oldest mass show in Spain, and it is considered an expression of the hispanic culture. However, it is also popular in other countries such as Portual, Mexico, Colombia, Perú… In Spain, las corridas went through glorious times and moments of decadence, living its golden age between 1910 and 1920 with figures like Juan Belmonte and “Joselito”. Also after the Spanish Civil War a resurgence of bullfighting took place.

Nevertheless, this is the most controversial Spanish tradition, since it has lots of advocates and opponents. The first prohibitions came hand in hand with the Catholic Church in the 16th century. The authorities at the time saw this as an offense against the Spanish identity and rejected the prohibition. At the end of the same century, criticism of the brutality and useless cruelty of this show against the animals and people involved started. Eminent jurists that shared this opinion, along with members of the Parliament of Castilla, asked the king to stop bullfighting. It never happened.

Nowadays, el toreo is forbidden in many countries, even in Spain. In 2004, for instance, after a popular request, the City Council of Barcelona declared that Barcelona is a city that opposes bullfighting. In 2010, the Parliament of Catalonia banned bullfighting in the whole region. Similarly, in Sonora, Mexico, after numerous complaints by environmentalists groups and politicians, las corridas were prohibited in 2013.

Over the course of centuries, there have been little consensus in regards to this national party. Some feel fascinated by it and consider it a national symbol; others have labeled it as a non-didactic tradition that shows unwarranted cruelty against animals. What is your stance on this subject?

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