Bullfighting is a traditional spectacle that involves a bullfighter, also known as a matador, fighting and ultimately killing a bull in an arena, and remains popular and legal in Spain and other Hispanic nations.
Bullfighting is a traditional spectacle that involves a bullfighter, also known as a matador, fighting and ultimately killing a bull in an arena. The origins of tradition traces back to Spain and now is practiced in other countries like Mexico and France. The tradition has sparked controversy due to concerns about animal welfare with organizations such as PETA while others feel that it is a significant tradition.
Bullfighting includes a bullfighter typically performing a variety of maneuvers to showcase their skills. The matador then attempts to kill the bull with a sword. The tradition can vary from region to region and the bull even lives sometimes.
The tradition is an intricate and highly ritualized spectacle that has developed over centuries. The event typically takes place in a large arena, or plaza de toros, and involves several stages. There are typically three types of bullfighters and six bulls in a bullfight.
The first type of bullfighter is the matador that faces the bull in the final tercio, or third act of the bullfight, and performs the faena, a series of choreographed passes with a cape, leading up to the moment when they attempt to kill the bull with a sword. The picador is the bullfighter on a horse that uses a lance to weaken the bull’s neck muscles according to Thirteen. The banderillero bullfighter thrusts the banderillas, which are decorated sticks with barbed ends, into the bull’s shoulders.
Bullfighting has played an important role in Hispanic culture for centuries. Some people believe it to be an important part of their country’s identity. Bullfighting has long been celebrated as an art form “symbolizing the dance of death between human and beast,” according to the News Reporter.
Despite its cultural importance, bullfighting has faced significant criticism. When wrestling with a volatile animal, the safety of the bullfighters come to mind. While every sport has its dangers, due to the nature of this sport, bullfighting specifically presents a significant risk to the well being of the participants.
The matadors face significant physical danger when they maneuver around a large, powerful animal with deadly horns. Injuries are common and sometimes fatal. Famous bullfighter, Victor Barrio was gored to death during an event in 2016 according to the Guardian and was only 29 years old at the time of his death.
According to CultureTrip, over 500 matadors have lost their lives due to the sport. This casualty rate is particularly high, especially when compared to other sports throughout the world. This concern is heightened when examining the participation of minors in bullfighting.
In some parts of Spain, children as young as 14 are legally allowed to participate in bullfights, explains InSpain News. What’s more, bullfighting’s popularity is at the highest levels in years according to the National Association of Bullfighting Show Organizers. AP News notes that younger people are consistently more present than older people at these events.
So with the increasing popularity of the sport, especially with a younger audience, some argue that it is dangerous for children to be exposed to such violence at a young age. Critics believe that it could cause lasting impact on children, both physically and psychologically. Other proponents urge that the tradition helps to preserve a beloved cultural tradition.
The tradition remains popular and legal in Spain and other Hispanic nations. However, the act of killing the bull in the sport is illegal in the United States according to NPR. Nonetheless, bullfighting retains its cultural significance in hispanic culture and is likely to continue.