Spain's First Bullfight Since Lockdown Prompts Fresh Calls For Ban
***WARNING: CONTAINS GRAPHIC IMAGES***
Activists from La Tortura No Es Cultura (Torture Is Not Culture) and Animal Guardians captured gruesome photographs from the event, which took place in Avila, 55 miles west of the capital, Madrid.
As you might expect from a bullfight, the images show the matador repeatedly stabbing the bull, which can be seen slowly dying as blood pours from its wounds, nose and mouth.
The pictures also reveal that much of the arena was empty, and activists argue this lack of support and interest serves as proof that bullfighting should not be given the government funding it relies upon to survive.
Carmen Ibarlucea, from animal rights group La Tortura No Es Cultura, said: "Have we not already had an overdose of death and pain in these past months?
"The numbers speak for themselves: in Spain, those of us who reject bullfighting are a large majority.
"England in 2005 banned fox hunting. China just barely a month ago banned breeding dogs for human consumption. Traditions are not immovable."
Bullfighting has been hit hard by lockdown and the industry has appealed for additional government funding to help it survive - though it already receives funding from local and national governments, while farms that raise bulls for the ring receive money from the EU.
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Marta Esteban Miñano, from Animal Guardians, said: "The bullfighting lobby has been clamouring for months, asking for public money and demanding to be able to hold a bullfight.
"And what happened? It has been a total failure, the alleged fans have not responded.
"How can this cruel bankrupt business continue to be subsidised with public funds? This is a waste of Spanish and Europeans taxes at a time of great need."
However, many who work in the bullfighting sector claim the Spanish government is using the coronavirus pandemic as an opportunity to kill off the controversial tradition.
Matador Cayetano Rivera said on social media: "The bullfighting sector is - and will be - one of the most affected by the dramatic situation that we're living through.
"We can't forget the many people and families who depend, either directly or indirectly, on the bullfighting world to live."
Andres Roca Rey, a young star of the bull ring, has also leapt to its defence.
According to the New York Times, he said: "I think many younger people now want to identify with their country and they understand that watching bullfighting is about embracing the culture of Spain, and certainly not about seeing an animal suffer."
Featured Image Credit: Pen News