Entertainment  > The Truth Behind Bullfighting


SHARK (Showing Animals Respect & Kindness)


Bulls, as all bovine creatures, are gentle community-oriented animals. Prior to entering the bullring, each bull is held in an isolation box -- a small structure with a tiny ventilation opening in the top. He is deprived of light, food, water and most importantly, the security of his herd. Mexican bullfights occur even during the hot summer months.


Throughout Latin America, it is common for animal torture such as bullfights, to be closely associated with the Church and many times used to celebrate religious holidays. At this Mexican bullfight, a mass is held prior to the event within the bullring itself.


Upon being released from the box, the bull enters the bullring. Here he is disoriented from the sudden light and the crowd noise.


Furthermore, when he enters the ring, the bull is already bleeding profusely. While still in the holding box, the bull is injured with a harpoon-tipped ribbon that has been jammed into his side.


The bull is quickly joined by two men on horses. The mounted men begin to circle the confused bull and stab pointed lances into his back and his sides. The lance blade cutting the bull is at least 5 inches long.


Once the bull is severely wounded, the bullfighter and his team engage their wounded, weakened, tortured and confused victim. These men take turns chasing the bull and slamming banderillas into the bull.


These banderillas, or adorned barbed darts, hang onto the bull with razor sharp tips. By this time, the bull is in extreme pain, the blood is spraying, pouring, bubbling, and oozing out of every wound. Internal bleeding is evident by the blood pouring out of his mouth and nostrils. Also, uncontrollable urination and defecation is usual. He cannot defend himself and attempts to run away.


After at least twenty minutes of this, the matador takes advantage of this weakened state and approaches the bull from the front. Armed with a long sword, the matador strikes and jams the entire sword into the top of the bull's body. This is supposed to be a fatal strike through the heart.


Unfortunately, many times the sword goes through the lungs causing the bull's blood to come gushing out of his mouth and nostrils--drowning the creature in his own life fluids. Still standing, the bull attempts to run away with instinct driving him to survive. The "bullfighters" continue to chase him around the ring, surrounding him and continuing this merciless attack.


Finally, exhausted and badly hemorrhaging, the bull collapses to his knees mortally wounded.. in complete submission.. begging for mercy. The sword is then removed from his back.


He lies there, clinging to life. He can no longer run and now will suffer until death.


The matador finally approaches with a short knife. The knife pierces the back of the bull's neck and dragged from side to side to cut the spinal cord. This paralyzes but does not kill the victim. The victim is conscious as trophies are cut from his body -- his ears, tail, and/or hooves. Sometimes the bull is even conscious as he is dragged to the back of the arena and butchering begins.


Why is this horror allowed to happen? Blood bullfights are illegal in the states, yet is funded by the Americans. The bullrings are crowded with American tourists who want to experience some "local color." Also, the American company, Pepsi, is the biggest advertiser we saw at Mexican bullrings. Their banners and signs are strewn everywhere -- giving their silent approval of animal torture. Also, Pepsi has pouring rights at these arenas--blood money.




Write to PepsiCo and let them know that you will be boycotting their products until they put an immediate stop to this support of bloody torture. Send letters to both Peter Thompson (President) and Craig Weatherup (Chairman) at

PepsiCo, Inc.
1 Pepsi Way
Somers, NY 10589


Or why spend thirty-three cents when you can charge it to Pepsi? Use their toll-free number to lodge your complaint: 1-800-433-2652.

For more information, contact SHARK at sharkintl@aol.com. And, you can also visit websites, www.pepsibloodbath.com and www.sharkonline.org.


THE BULLFIGHT -- An Eyewitness Report
A Bullfight is thought to be a beautiful exhibition of a struggle between man and beast.


It was July, 1996 and Rhonda and I were visiting Spain. We were there almost 9 days and had planned on spending about 6 of those days in Marbella Spain. The other three were in Madrid. These notes are about the highlights of that trip. All westerners think they want to see a bullfight. We did, and I am glad I did. Particularly so I can tell others not to go.


We were staying at the Marbella Club which is one of the nicest resort hotels we could find in the South of Spain. We noticed bullfight posters all over town, but didn't pay much attention to them. Finally the man at the hotel reception asked us if we would like to see the most famous woman bullfighter in the world. She was to fight in Puerto Banus this coming Sunday. This seemed like it would be a great topper to what had been a terrific trip. We loved Spain, it had such an international feeling. The people were modern and always nice to the tourists.


So, we bought tickets, and they weren't cheap either, about $150.00 each. Of course we bought front row seats figuring that if we were going to see a real bullfight once, we should see it right.


The beginning of the fight was colorful and festive. Everyone paraded out. I had my telephoto lens and immediately got a good picture of the famous lady bullfighter. The procession was led by two young girls riding beautiful Andalusian horses. We particularly enjoyed this as we had owned Andalusian horses ourselves. The parade continued on for a several minutes and we got to see everyone that was going to participate in the event.


When the ring was empty, a trumpet played that familiar tune. Then door would open directly across the ring from us and a bull would come out of a dark tunnel. They must have done something to him because he was pissed. He charged around the ring as the crowd yelled and clapped. There were others dressed in Matador costumes that would jump out and taunt the bull. They would then jump behind a barrier to escape bull's charge.


After a short time, Christina Sanchez came out and performed the traditional waving of the cape to attract the bull, then stepping aside at the last moment. This is what we always think of when we think of bullfighting. There were two different performers this Sunday, but Cristina Sanchez was definitely the favorite. Christina worked the bull for a few minutes then some other guy came out and stuck four colorful sticks in the back of the bulls neck. The program called this "quieting the bull". The practice was not always successful and the other Matador might need to do it many times.


There was a band that would play from time to time to liven up the occasion.


A little later, two huge, heavily padded draft horses came out. As soon as the bull would see the horses, he would charge. Luckily, the rider of each horse was carrying an 8 foot pole, 1ΒΌ inches in diameter with a silver point in the end. He would poke a huge hole in the back of the bulls neck. Usually one was not enough, so he would do it a few times. As soon as this was done, the horses would leave the ring.


Now the bull was bleeding profusely. Again the Matadors would tease him relentlessly. By this time, the bull was plenty tired and often would have to be prodded to go after the Matador's cape. Often the bull was so weak that he would collapse. One time the bull just laid down. He would not get up so a bunch of guys ran into the ring to poke at him and bend his tail to get him up. Finally he did get up.


This seemed to be the most proud time for the Matador. With the bull completely broken down, he would show us how brave he was, by kneeling down in front of the bull.


The surround of the ring was like the sideline of a basketball game. Managers and the press took their positions there to watch the event.


At a later point in time, when the bull could hardly stand up, it was time for the kill. Proudly the Matador would stand, sword in hand, poised to make the kill.


Then the Matador would lunge at the half dead bull with a three foot long sword. Rarely would they get the sword in on the first attempt. This Sunday afternoon, they killed 6 bulls. Only once did they kill the bull without several tries.


After the bull was killed, a guy would run out and cut off one or both of the bulls ears. Patiently a team of horses waited to drag the dead bull out of the ring.


The Spaniards call this a sport. We thought it was disgusting. We couldn't believe the barbaric nature of the event. There was no respect for the bull, and certainly no consideration for the pain the bull was in.


When the first bull came out, we both wanted to leave, but the ring was so crowded with people, it would have been impossible. So we stayed.


After it was all over, we both agreed we were glad to have come, but also agreed that we had both lost our respect for many Spanish people. Who would think that a culture so rich with art and beauty could entertain themselves in this manner.


-- Gregory and Rhonda McMurry -- Marina Del Rey, CA


Many famous people have quoted, that they did not enjoy, and were not entertained by the fights, but simply interested in the occurrences. In the three times I have been to Mexico, I have refused to attend such events, even though the chance was available. I too would be fascinated by the fight itself, but such an unfair slaughter deserves no glory.


Some people call this a form of art, not brutal murder. Many people for the bullfight will protest that we have boxing and fox hunts in our countries, but boxers are willing to fight, and foxes are not so brutally and immorally slaughtered. The supporters of the fights would also argue that they use this for war training, but in this day, nuclear war is prevalent, not hand to hand combat. They argue that they kill the bull young so it doesn't have to suffer of old age, and they should be commended for that. But does that then mean a human who murders achild should get an award for taking their life at a young age? No, not a chance!


Many of the people who have tried to protest such fights have had their families killed or harmed by the Mafia surrounding such high income entertainment. The thing that we can do to try and stop the brutal and useless fights is to not go and not support advertisements that use bull fights and fighters to sell products.