The bullfighting season has started here in Seville along with the Seville Fair and will be ongoing until autumn. However, it’s not without resistance. There has been a long standing debate about bullfighting in Spain where the opinions have divided the people into two almost equal parts: those who are in favour and those who are against.

Since bullfighting comes with such a long history and all the cultural aspects around it, many regards it as so much more than what some would call animal cruelty. Bullfighting is synonym with our fear of death and how we’re able to conquer it. The bullfighters are idolised and seen as heroes. Many believe it’s a cultural heritage that needs to be preserved.

“This tradition is in the blood of the Spanish”

Despite this many arenas have been shut down or remade for holding music or sports events. In Catalonia bullfighting has been prohibited, but the running with the bull is still very much present, something that many find as a double standard. It’s forbidden entirely in the Canary Islands but for the most part allowed in the rest of Spain. The bulls that are used in the fights have lived in harmony in their natural environment up until the age of four when the are taken to fight against the matador. This, according to some, means that they at least lived a good life up until their death, unlike many pets who are kept in small cages or apartments or animals bred for our food consumption. The bulls die with dignity. A combat between a noble and powerful animal and an intelligent and brave human.

Each bullfight is conducted according to the same three part ritual where the star of the show is the matador, dressed in embroidered clothing dating back to imperial Spain. He uses his cape to manoeuvre the bull to where he wants it during this 15 minute “dance” before he finally stabs the sword between the bull’s shoulder blades lastly kills the animal. Bullfighting isn’t considered a sport but more like an improvised theatre with dance, music, acting and esthetics, like a form of art. It’s described as poetry and is reviewed in the cultural pages, not in the Sports section, together with reviews on plays and ballet.

Animal rights activits have long been actively against bullfighting but recently even the Spanish people is starting to oppose against it because much of the tax payers’ money is put in to support the tradition. Many political parties are disagreeing with it and this has affected the future of bullfighting. The last few years bullfighting has seen a decline, whether it be due to the high prices or the decrease in popularity is still debated.

“Torture is not culture”

According to the adversaries the injuring and killing of an animal shouldn’t be considered a cultural event together with it not being a fair fight from the bull’s standpoint. They consider bullfighting something of the past and that we now live in modern Spain. Additionally, it’s a very male dominated world and only a handful of female matadors in Spain. Many women who wish to fight have to go overseas to do so. Moreover, many believe that bullfighting will never cease to exist, but instead it will change. The bull might not get killed, or the bullfighting will at least become less bloodstained.

Plaza de toros de la Real Maestranza de Caballería de Sevilla.

Even if you’re not interested in watching a bullfight there is a lot of history behind it and it’s still an important part of the culture. Should you want to visit Plaza de toros de la Real Maestranza de Caballería de Sevilla, the bullfighting arena in Seville that also holds a museum, or any other arena, we’ll arrange the visit and the tickets for you!

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