Bull Fighting is Bull Shit

We all grew up with the wonderous stories of matadors. The red capes, elaborate costumes and fierce bravery against angry bulls.

In Madrid, this is not a tale of the past. Bull Fighting is alive and well. It is still the go-to event of both. locals and tourists. A few years ago, killing the bull was banned. Bull “dodging” was the new sport (and still is in Barcelona) but after just a couple of years being outlawed, bull fighting has become legal again in the other parts of Spain besides Catalonia.

My husband and I were spending two weeks in Madrid. Lover of all sports and a fan of weird events, he brought up the topic of going to a bull fight as soon as we landed in Spain. I was a hard “no.” He knew my thoughts on animal cruelty so he didn’t push it and bought a solo ticket.

Just two hours before the event, I changed my mind. I knew it wouldn’t be fun but I had some serious FOMO and felt like it was an experience I needed to witness. I went with him.

I did not expect to have fun at the fight but I also did not expect to bawl. Within seconds of seeing the bull released from his box, I had tears welling up in my eyes. They keep the bull inside a blacked out box for two days before the fight so he is disoriented and weak. They also put cotton in his nostrils to shallow his breathing and vaseline in his eyes to blur his vision.

A bull is released from the box into an open arena with about 5 matadors. They take turns waving their capes, taunting the bull to come then running to hide behind a protective wall where the bull cannot reach them. If you watch closely, you will see that the bull doesn’t approach the matador unless the matador is waving his cape. Even then, the bull does not aim his horns towards the matador when he charges. It is just towards the cape. It’s the motion of the cape that drives the bull to defense.

I softened my sobs and cried quietly as the matador began the kill. While one matador waved his cape to get the bull to run, the other stabbed him in the back with two daggers. This was just the first spill of blood. The game continues as several more daggers are pierced into the bull’s back.

The bull slows down. It’s coat is covered in blood but it continues to charge towards the waving capes until the main matador pierces his spine with a sword. If the matador hits the right spot, the bull’s legs will buckle below and he will fall. If not, the matador will keep stabbing the bull in the back until he is dead. The matador gloats and dances victoriously as the crowd cheers.

Three horses then enter the arena and the bull is chained to them and drug out of the area through the crowd waiting at the exit. His blood leaves a trail that is quickly washed away with a water hose. I watched as other people stepped over the trail of blood like it was a rain puddle. No pause. No second look. No remorse.

I saw two dead bulls that day. One killed in the arena during the one fight I sat through and the other drug out by horses as I was leaving during the second fight. It was enough. I did not need to see anymore to further understand the sport.

I posted my first and only (to date) facebook rant after attending the bull fight. A people pleaser at heart, I try not to poke the bear but my emotions took charge.

It was astounding how many people had strong feelings about the topic. I didn’t expect people to have reasons to feel strongly FOR bull fighting. It was a subject I truly saw one way and one way only.

My first instinct was to apologize profusely for offending anyone and take it back. But I paused. I took a step back.

Instead of losing my own voice, I asked to hear theirs.

I learned so much from my peers and was able to express my opinions.

Facebook creates such a wonderful platform for commenting and discussing. Although there will always be bullies that it behind keyboards, I encourage you to mindfully express. The wealth of knowledge we can gain form our Facebook friends is often underestimated.

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