Spanish-American entertainer Charo has appealed to authorities to reject an initiative to protect and promote bullfighting as a national cultural pastime, in coordination with the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
The actor and classical guitarist, who went to weekly bullfights with her father as a young girl, wrote to Spain’s Culture Committee after an industry-led petition automatically triggered the consideration.
“As a proud Spaniard and member of PETA, I am ashamed that some in my country continue to cling to a sad chapter of our history that should have come to an end long ago”, writes Charo. “Cruelty is not culture. I urge you to reject the initiative to protect bullfighting.”
Bulls are commonly deprived of food and water for days prior to a “fight”, and before entering the ring, they can have the tips of their horns shaved off and petroleum jelly smeared into their eyes to blur their vision.
Once in the ring, a bull is repeatedly stabbed by a variety of spears, spikes and daggers, causing tremendous pain and blood loss until the matador finally drives a sword into the exhausted animal. Bullfighting has been on the decline for years, with attendance decreasing and bullrings closing in countries where it is allowed, as more and more people put animal welfare first.
Seventy-six percent of Spaniards say that they have no interest in this barbaric ritual, and the industry survives only because of subsidies from Spanish and EU taxpayers. Any move to protect bullfighting would be a huge step backwards.