Peru has one of the oldest bullfighting rings in the world. It dates back to the 1700’s. It was my first bullfight and was an intense experience. Hot, dusty, bloody & cruel but steeped in tradition with colorful pomp and circumstance, this spectacle is a cultural relativist’s dream debate. Is it a sport? Not sure. The world’s top matadors were there, mostly from Spain. It goes like this:
The bulls are ushered out to applause as they madly dash into the ring (one lucky one was disqualified after breaking off one of his horns after smashing into a wall). The other 5 where not so lucky. They start by fighting a number of different matadors or others, some on horseback. Colored spikes are thrown into the neck which helps to tire out the bull as he loses blood as well as correct any certain ticks he has while charging. After about 30 minutes when he is good and tired and in shock , the matador tries to deliver a long sword into a small spot on the bull’s neck where it can pass all the way into his heart. This never happened and a Peruvian assistant would have to deliver a series of knife blows to the head to finally kill the bull. When dead, they are dragged out of the ring by horses and then butchered immediately. Here is some more technical info.
Yes, it was cruel no doubt, but the life these 1000 lb. animals get is a hell of a lot better than the lives the animals we eat experience on the factory farms that 99% of our meat comes from. I wasn’t too impressed with the sporting aspects of it much as it seemed by the time the matador does his little dance the bull is so tired he is barely charging. Makes me wonder what the Peruvian cultural would be like if it hadn’t been squashed and stripped by the Spanish.