Could Ending Bullfighting Possibly Be... Not That Important?

(I originally posted this on a couple months ago, and I thought it might be an interesting topic to bring up here. In Spanish class two years ago we had a debate on bullfighting, but unfortunately I was gone when the class did the actual debating. I don't even remember whether I was for or against bullfighting in my project, -I'm pretty sure I was against it- but I certainly had very mixed feelings about it at the time. As for now... not so much.)

I joined this change so that I could post here and in a way play a devil's advocate for those who feel that bullfighting is something to really get angry about. Let's begin with priorities:

1. Humans are more important than cows.

Let's worry about our own species and the countless problems that people have before a tradition like bullfighting might need to be addressed. One can find so many issues to really care about on the efforts of ending poverty and hunger throughout the world alone are enough to challenge a person for lifetimes. Then there are tragedies throughout the world from Darfur to Chechnya to Tibet, not to mention a multitude of domestic issues within the U.S. from the death penalty to health care. The list goes on and on, and not even a site as great as this could contain the many things that we as people can improve for people.

2. Mass abuses go on in slaughterhouses much worse than the ceremonial killing in bullfighting.

The meatpacking industry today is guilty of far more animal cruelty than all the bullfights of history. The book Fast Food Nation has some very good insights into the abuses that go on in this industry and I think change should start with the mass slaughter of cows by inhumane means before a largely benign tradition is attacked. On the one hand, hundreds of animals are sent quickly down assembly lines being electrocuted, shot with big nail guns and put through many other incomprehensible methods of torture to go into your hamburger. On the other hand, healthy adult bulls who have lived full and enjoyable lives are sent one or a few at a time into a game that has some painful components but is in the end part of a much more humane process than the cow-killing that isn't a show.

3. Some redeeming facts:

Sometimes the bull is spared for outstanding "performance" and lives out the rest of its life enjoyably.

It's a tradition for the meat of the bull to be donated to charity like orphanages, etc.

Bullfighting is a tradition stemming from Mediterranean sacrifice of bulls, and as with hunting, whether you like it or not, people kill cute animals for food and shall continue to do so, whether it's in a show that everyone gets angry about or behind factory doors where no one seems to care.


  1. I agree with you that the cultural blood sport of the bullfight is not as important as addressing human suffering in the world. In the grand scale of things, spending excessive time and attention and energy on stopping the public display of animal torture and death, may not rise to the importance of ending human torture; however, I do feel that animal cruelty is animal cruelty wherever it occurs. In an opposing argument I would ask you to consider that what humans are able and willing to do to animals, they are able and willing to do to each other. We are not far removed from the Roman arena.


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