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Bullfighting - Art or Cruelty to Animals


Bullfighting - Art or Cruelty to Animals

A bullfighter in action

Image: Damian Corrigan
Few Spanish traditions divide opinion as much as bullfighting. For every bull aficionado willing to defend their art there are ten who see it as just cruelty to animals and want it banned - yet still the practice goes on.

So which side are you on? Do the centuries of tradition, flamboyant costumes and fantastic shows excite you or do you see it as an anachronistic pastime that is no different to lion battling or gladiatorial duels?

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Latest Developments

Madrid and Andalusia continue to host bullfighting events throughout the summer. The stadiums are usually full, both with curious tourists and die-hard fans. The national Spanish TV network, TVE, shows bullfighting at prime time on its main channels.

In 2010, the government in Barcelona banned bullfighting in Catalonia. Read more here: Barcelona Bullfighting Ban.


Bullfighting has existed for thousands of years and it has been popular in Spain for nearly a millennium, though some say it has existed in Spain since the time of Emperor Claudius two thousand years ago.

With the rise of the animal rights movement, an ever increasing number of people have been critical of bullfighting, both within Spain and in the rest of the world. The number of websites in opposition to the activity far exceeds the number in favor.

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