Ole to the ban on bullfighting

The following is one of several of my articles published at Powder Room Graffiti, an online magazine. This has since been taken over by different people and the name has changed to In the Powder Room.  They seem to have done away with the original articles, unfortunately. The articles were to be short, around 500 words, which was a challenge, as well as a good learning experience.

Ole to Banning Bullfighting

What honor? What choice?
by Sandra Staas (Mon Aug 02, 2010)

The recent ban on bullfighting in Catalonia was based on animal welfare grounds. However, those against the ban state that the reasons are actually political. They believe that the ban on bullfighting is simply a means for Catalonia to show Spain how different it is, and how one day they may actually acquire full independence from Spain.

Catalonia does indeed consider itself separate from the rest of Spain as can be witnessed from the tendency of the people to insist on speaking in Catalan to Spaniards from different regions and even to foreigners. Speak in Spanish to a Catalan and the chances are that he'll reply in his own language. I know because I spent three years in Catalonia.

Regional pride is, well, pride, that‘s all. Retaining one's own regional language or dialect, is understandable, but to insist that others speak this regional language is simply not acceptable. The fact that Catalonia is indeed 'different' from the rest of Spain is undeniable, but to therefore assume that the ban on bullfighting is political, is erroneous.

I remember watching debates on Spanish television when I was living near Madrid. They were heated arguments over whether the bullfight should be banned. One argument that came shining forth, through yelling to the point of hysteria, and arms waving like madmen, was that the bullfight proved that man is superior to beast. Let's assume that this is true. Just how many times do you have to prove that man is superior to beast? Does anyone really need or want to prove this, anyway?

Those against the ban cite the fact that the bulls are bred for bullfighting, that it is an honor for the bull to die in the bullring. Bloody hell. I don't think the bull knows this. Whilst the bull is being stabbed by the picador's lance, whilst the blood is spilling out of him, are we supposed to actually believe that he feels a sense of honor? When the matador fails to kill the bull with one single lunge of the sword, and the bull bellows in pain as its legs crumble to the ground, are we to believe that he's feeling even more honor? When the matador gets gored we're expected to feel compassion for him. But, nobody forced the matador to go into the bullring. It's his choice to do so. The bull, on the other hand, has no choice.

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