€30,000 taxpayer prize for the best animal torture is indefensible

30,000-euro prize for best bullfighting payable by taxpayer scraped in Spain
30,000-euro prize for best bullfighting payable by taxpayer scraped in Spain
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Bullfighting afficionados “understand even less that these forms of animal torture [bullfighting] are rewarded with medals that come with monetary prizes using public money.” The words of Spain’s culture minister (2024), Ernest Urtasun who has said that Spain’s bullfighting tradition is on its knees with only 1.9 percent of the population attending a bullfight in 2021-2022.

Many young Spanish citizens support bullfighting but we have to realise that it is plausible to suggest that they’ve been indoctrinated into believing that bullfighting is acceptable. It seems to me that if you find bullfighting acceptable you are forgetting that this form of spectacle is an act of legalised animal cruelty of a serious kind from the standpoint of someone concerned with animal welfare.

Bullfighting supporters are aggrieved about the scrapping of the €30,000 national bullfighting prize. The government has launched an attack on bullfighting on the eve of the San Isidoro festival. The fans regard the withdrawal of the prize as an act of war against this ancient tradition.

The earliest documented bullfight in Spain occurred in the 12th century under Alfonso VIII’s rule. Initially an exclusive activity for the aristocracy, it slowly became popular with the general populace. By the 18th and 19th centuries, it had evolved significantly into its contemporary form. Historians note that the inaugural official bullfight, known as “corrida de toros,” was held in 711 CE to celebrate King Alfonso VIII’s coronation, drawing inspiration from Roman gladiator contests. These initial bullfights were horse-mounted and exclusively for the Spanish elite.

At Madrid’s bullfighting ring Las Ventas, the mood among supporters was palpably rebellious. One youngster aged 13, Juan Carlos Carruezo, said: “I believe that bullfighting has a good future as young people like me are coming in greater numbers.”

Ernest Urtasun has enemies among those running bullfighting. One Miguel Abellian, the head of the Madrid bullfighting department, and a former bullfighter gored 34 times, accused him of totalitarian behavior (a form of government that theoretically permits no individual freedom and seeks to subordinate all aspects of individual life to the authority of the state).

Isabel Diaz Ayuso, a conservative politician is for bullfighting. Referring to Urtasun’s decision to scrap the prize she said:

The minister [Urtasun] has transformed into an activist and is imposing his personal tastes, so we are defending the freedom of bullfighting. It’s totalitarian to tell people what is culture and what is not.”

RELATED: Bull brutally gores young man who taunted the animal in a Spanish bull run celebration

My conclusion

  • Supporters: according to the report that I am reading (The Times newspaper) don’t refer at any time to bullfighting’s inherent animal cruelty. It is off the radar in their discussion. A convenient ommission.
  • Traditions: are often cruel to animals as hundreds and thousands of years ago there were no animal welfare laws. Animal welfare was basic and almost non-existent. Bullfighting is based on these ancient traditions which incorporate animal cruelty by today’s standards.
  • Change: will be slow and hard as this is an incredibly longstanding tradition deeply embedded in Spain’s culture.
  • Young people: do they speak with free minds? Thinking freely and not reciting what they have been taught by their parents or people in authority? Are they indocrinated?

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