Web ReidsGuides

The sport of cowards

On why not to attend a corrida (bullfight) at Las Ventas in Madrid, Spain

Though the Spanish heartland of bullfighting is to the south, Madrid is the country's capital which makes its main bullfighting ring—Las Ventas (full name: La Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas del Espíritu Santo)—is one of the top venues in the country for this bloody "sport." The season runs from March to October, with a peak during the San Isidro festival of May and June.

The reason I put the word "sport" in quote marks is because la corrida is not a real sport. It is the highly ritualized torture and cruel slaughter of a dumb beast. I honestly used to keep an open mind about such cultural pastimes—until I actually attended a bullfight.

A bullfight is nothing more than a handful of pompous guys in sequins armed with swords or pikes pitted against one very confused beast who slowly bleeds to death while he tries to escape from these men who seem intent on hurting him. It is not some glorious and mysterious "dance with death" as it apologists would have. It is choreographed torture. It is piteous, it is barbaric, and it is morally indefensible.

I don't care if they've done it for hundreds of years and it is part of their culture. We Americans kept slaves for hundreds of years, too, and it was part of our culture. Does that make it right? For hundreds of years in western society, women were seen as the property of their husbands or their fathers, to be bartered in business deals and bred like chattel. Go ahead: argue that either of those glorious Western cultural traditions is right in any moral sense.

No, I'm not some vegan nut or cultural imperialist. I enjoy a good steak as much as the next guy. I just don't torture it to death first.


Intrepid Travel

This article was last updated in August 2007. All information was accurate at the time.

about | contact | faq

Copyright © 1998–2010 by Reid Bramblett. Author: Reid Bramblett.