The controversial sport of bullfighting is still popular in Spain, and every July the Pamplona Bull run and many like it take place.
The issue divides the Royal Family, with the Queen opposing bullfights in contrast to the King and Princess Elena fans. While it is still popular in Spain, it has been banned in Catalonia since 2010.
King Alfonso VIII introduced the sport to the country in the year 711 AD, and at this point the bullfighters were on horseback. It was a sport for the aristocracy for the next thousand years until – like with football in England – the King disliked it. Felipe V thought it was a bad example to set to the people, and banned the aristocracy from taking part. Clearly, the people were already too far gone from this bad example, because they took up bullfighting as their own sport. As they could not afford horses, they did not use as many horses.
A rider on horseback is involved (the horse is armoured, as previously they were attacked by the bulls and killed in higher numbers as a result), as after the bull’s introduction this rider will stab the bull in the back of the neck with a spear.
Before the most famous aspect of bullfighting – the matador with the red cape attracting and then avoiding the bull – takes place after the bull has been weakened by other bullfighters. The animal will be stabbed in the back of the neck and the shoulders, losing energy through bloodless and attempting to attack the bullfighters. Once the matador has demonstrated their ability to attract and avoid the bull, they will try to kill it with a sword. It is not a guarantee that they will do this on his first attempt. Very rarely does the bull survive, granted a reprieve if it is deemed to have fought well.
Bullfighting is a bloodsport. Opponents are against the slow, prolonged death of the bulls. Fans say that these bulls live longer, are treated better, and die only as badly as those meant for abattoirs.
It is part of Spanish culture, and if bullfighting is ever to be banned, it too will be a slow and protracted death.