Bullfighting in Spain. Is it Art?

bull-155411_640Bullfighting in Spain, also known as tauromachia or tauromachy (la tauromaquia) has been recently accepted as Cultural Heritage in an attempt to promote it and preserve it as our national cultural heritage.  This blog will be my honest opinion, as a Spaniard, about this subject.

Firstly let’s talk about bullfighting:  bullfighting is a “sport/art” practiced in Spain, some countries in Spanish America, Portugal, South of France and the Philippines. People who support bullfighting argue that it is a culturally important tradition and a fully developed art form like any other.  However, more and more people across the globe are pushing fiercely against it, making promoters and supporters think of new ways to maintain bullfighting as a tradition. Their latest idea is to have bullfighting in Spain declared as a cultural heritage.

Before I move on, I must state that I do not support bullfighting. From my perspective bullfighting is not art, nor is it a sport… It is just a gruesome show in which thousands of bulls are murdered every year in front of multitudes of passive onlookers who applaud the matador’s skills as he slaughters those poor animals.

From my childhood onwards I have heard people excusing the existence of bullfighting in Spain by telling me how much the bulls have been pampered by their ganadero from birth; it’s good for the economy, or: el toro de lidia (the breed used) wouldn’t exist without this tradition; or: a bull fight’s a fair fight against a bullfighter; or even: that’s a bull’s destiny!

Let’s not kid ourselves, bullfighting is one of the cruellest means of entertainment that exists today, along with many others such as the Toro de la Vega. People who see animal cruelty as artful or as a fun sport are, in my honest opinion, very low in their emotional intelligence and empathy ladder and have a long way to go.

Excuse me in advance for my bluntness and rude words, but what makes it art I ask? Is it the colourful outfits, the copious amounts of blood swilling around the ring, the rousing music?  Or is it the tremendously entertaining scene as each terrified bull fights “una lucha  injusta” against a barrage of men armed with a range of weapons that no bull could ever compete with? Perhaps it’s the flamboyance of watching as a macho man in eye-wateringly tight trousers attempts, often quite badly, to plunge his sword into the heart of a bull whose lungs are in that moment already filling with blood from the profound wounds inflicted on it by the “picadores”?

Or do those people that consider it art do so only because that’s what they’ve been told since they were children?

Surprisingly, much of the support for bullfighting in Spain comes from tourists who flock to see the “show” and get a taste of real “culture”. Please, before you consider supporting what has become nothing more than a multi-million euro business, ask yourself the following questions:

What part of murder is art?

Shouldn’t we have evolved mentally since the Roman Circus?

Should animal suffering and death be a source of entertainment for us?

Cynthia Smith-Durán.