The Bulls

Currently, one of the more controversial topics in Spain concerns the toros (the bulls). The bull fights that take place throughout the whole country are a very long-standing tradition and notable aspect of the culture. However, while some Spaniards still consider this practice acceptable and important, it is estimated that at least half of the present population are against the bull fights because (I tell you this, reader, in case you are as blissfully ignorant as I was upon arrival) the bulls are always killed afterwards! Thus, the majority are against this massive scale of animal cruelty for the sole purpose of human entertainment. Yet the issue is certainly more complicated than that, because the industry of the toros in a substantial part of the nation’s economy, from the many jobs it provides directly to the millions of tourists it attracts each year.

I decided to ask my professors about their thoughts on this topic. One, a middle-aged man, immediately responded that he does not support it whatsoever because of the aforementioned slaughter of the toros. He commented that most of the people he knows are also not in favor, but that it tends to still be defended by older generations. My other professor, a young woman, hesitated for a moment before answering. She explained that, of course, she does not like that the bulls die, but that her grandfather was a bull fighter and that her whole family still enjoys bull fights, so she has gone several times. She appreciates the tradition, and also mentioned the significance of the toros to the Spanish economy as one of the reasons she is reluctant to advocate against the custom completely.

When several of my classmates decided to attend a bullfight in Alicante this week, I chose not to join them, and I am glad. While I acknowledge that the subject is complex, and I respect other opinions, I personally had no interest in seeing the bulls tricked and teased before marching off to their deaths. Turns out, most of the other girls ran out of the arena 10 minutes into the show anyway. Guess it was a good choice!