Toro de la Vega: Resilience of brutal event shows us bullfighting is here to stay

The bull is killed at this year's Toro de la Vega tournament. Capture via PACMA

This month I took the intercity train from Barcelona to the rural town of Tordesillas to report on the residents’ annual tradition — stabbing a bull to death with 8-foot-long steel-tipped spears.

I tried hard not to pass judgement on the Toro de la Vega tournament straight away. Coming from the Cotswolds — home to the World Shin-kicking Championships — I understand how a centuries-old tradition that seems entirely bizarre to an outsider can bring a community together.

It’s hard to make further comparisons of course — one is an endearing sport in which farmers kick seven shades out of one another’s shins, the other involves the mutilation of a creature that feels pain.

On this point, I’ve heard supporters of bullfighting — or “aficionados” — make the case that these bulls live better lives than animals subjected to the horrors of industrial farms. That they spend years frolicking happily through sunny Spanish paddocks, before enduring a comparatively brief period of confusion and agony. The difference, I would posit, is that a dairy cow doesn’t draw spectators who will on her ill-treatment.

To read the rest of Angus McNeice story, follow this link.



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