Bullfight in Madrid

Recently, I was in Madrid on vacation. Despite my reservations, I was cajoled into going to a bullfight. I have always maintained that bullfights are barbaric (though I am a carnivore...). Lacking any knowledge of Spanish (except for a few tourist words and phrases), I was lucky to receive a booklet (with our tickets) which explained the process of a bullfight in 5 languages. And my neighbors on both sides were unlucky to have a decent knowledge of English language...

After seeing the entire bullfight process (6 bullfights in total), I have reached a different conclusion - Bullfights are barbaric not because a bull gets killed but because the entire process is about slaughter. The bull doesn't stand a chance. Let me explain:

First, the torero (matador) enters the ring with 3 assistants. Then, the bull enters. He is very energetic and a dangerous 1100+ pound animal at this stage. The torero and his assistants make the bull run around the ring before a horseman on a fully padded horse shows up to lance the bull in the nape. Then, either the torero or his assistants stick 3 pairs of barbs in the bull's nape. These steps are not without danger but after being lanced, the bull strength is being sapped through blood loss. Then, the matador uses his cape to make the bull charge again and again till it is time to finish the game. The matador thrusts a sword into the same nape wound and usually, the bull falls a few seconds later. Then the bull is dragged off by a team of horses.

While many may feel that it is exciting (and certainly many do by the crowds at the bullring), I felt that it was just stylized slaughter. It would be much more fun to watch if the bull had a chance to live to fight another day. My vision goes something like this:

Skip the horseman. There is no challenge. Next, make the matador and his assistants stay within the central circle (often they would run out into narrow wooden slits made in the side walls to escape the charging bull). If they go out of the central circle, they are out of the game. Also, if they lose their cape (it happened twice when I watched), out they go. I believe these changes would make for a more exciting match. Yes, the match would also get more dangerous but then again, this is not a game for the cowards. The flow would definitely change but it would also be more relevant for the era we live in.

Just some food for thought...

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