By Wendy Williams
BACK in the old days when a bull had fought bravely, the public – or even the matador – could petition the president of the plaza to grant the animal an indulto or a pardon.
The bull’s life would then be spared and it would be allowed to leave the ring and go on to father other strong bulls.
This week, footage was released of an incredibly brave and valiant animal that decided to fight back and leapt spectacularly over the fence and into the crowd at a bull fight.
In the commotion that followed, at least 30 people were injured and a ten-year old boy was left in a serious condition as terrified spectators tried to flee the scene.
Officials then succeeded in tying a rope around the bull to bring it under control, before it was removed from the arena and killed.
Surely they could have tranquilised the terrified creature rather than just kill it
Now, what happened to the unsuspecting members of the audience was shocking and I am sure they were scared.
And I appreciate that when an animal is running amok at the risk of the public it must be controlled in some way.
But surely it would have been possible to give the poor creature, which must have been terrified to be driven over the barriers, some form of tranquiliser rather than having to kill it?
Surely this bull had proven its worth.
This brings us to the crux of the argument that surrounds this controversial sport; the matter of animal cruelty and the fact that the matador chooses to be there but the bull does not.
Supporters argue it is a culturally important tradition; an art form similar to dancing and music.
Those against, denounce it as a blood sport that causes the suffering of the bulls; animal cruelty deceptively masked as culture.
Safe to say, nearly everyone has an opinion on the subject.
Now, Catalonia has become the first major Spanish region to ban the controversial sport and the topic is once again at the fore with bull stories flooding the media.
In Bilbao this week, 150 animal rights demonstrators stripped naked in front of the Guggenheim museum to protest against the bullfighting season.
And in Malaga they were forced to cancel the second bull-fighting event of the city’s annual fiesta after vets rejected all the animals which had been provided for the afternoon’s corrida.
But what does the future hold for this tradition that, love it or hate it, dates back to prehistoric Spain.
According to a recent article in El Pais, 60 per cent of Spaniards do not like bullfighting, but nearly as many 57 per cent oppose the ban in Catalonia.
This, however, may have more to do with the fact that 58 percent thought its prohibition in the semi-autonomous region was because bullfighting is “an exclusively Spanish festival,” compared to 36 percent who thought animal welfare was the real motive.
This is particularly interesting when you compare Catalonia to the Basque country where people also strive for their independence from Spain but where you can see the running of the bulls each July and there are dozens of bullfights every week.
Either way, bull fighting is certainly in decline but it is not yet dead, unlike the bull that jumped into the crowd.