Sadly, the BBB campaign has ended

Bulls are still maimed for sport, but I hope the campaign helped to raises more awareness for the cruel practice of bullfighting. I am no longer updating this blog. Thanks very much for your support so far. I may occasionally post on the BBB Facebook page.

Screenshot BBB FB Seite

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Spanish government’s announcement re bullfighting can only mean: Remind them that they act against the people’s will!


Banderillas by francisco.j.gonzalez

While Spain, in fact, the whole of Europe, has been occupied with economic matters,  political developments in the most gruesome past time the country has to offer, have been equally grim.

A friend of mine who has lived in Barcelona for some twenty years warned me in November last year, ‘if the PP (People’s Party) regains power, you’ll see, bullfighting is back on the agenda in no time. ‘

And she was right. In a recent speech the minister of culture, José Ignacio Wert, declared bullfighting an ‘artistic discipline and cultural product’ that has to be protected. By that, obviously, he just confirmed the policy of the previous (socialist) government headed by Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.

It comes to no surprise that the government under prime minister Mariano Rajoy , who’s centre right PP won a landslide victory in last November’s general election, announced its support for the gruesome activity.

But still, can politicians completely ignore what has happened over the last couple of years? In other words the declining support for bullfighting over the last years and the ban on the corrida in Catalonia which came into force last month.

We all knew that, despite this huge victory, we mustn’t lose sight of the fact that there is still a long way ahead of us. It was clear that Spain wouldn’t ban bullfighting countrywide the following day. In fact, not anytime soon.

But there was this, well what was it actually? It was more than hope, it might have even been a modest expectation that the ban would be a symbol, an encouragement for campaigners in the whole of Spain and a sign to politicians that bullfighting is not something the vast majority of the population wants. And that they, as the elected representatives, should do something about it. Or at least, start stopping every moral and financial support for it.

It now seems that ruling politicians have chosen to continue ignoring the will of the majority of the Spanish people who have said time and again that they oppose bullfighting, or at least are not interested in it. Given the difficult economic time many Spaniards go through at the moment, at least any financial support for bullfighting can hardly be justified, as Maria Esteban of “La Tortura No Es Cultura” (Torture Is Not Culture), an important coalition of anti-bullfighting organisations, emphasises:

“At a time when Spain is in financial crisis and experiencing unemployment that has soared beyond 20%, a majority of the population also opposes subsidizing the bullfighting industry […]”.

This development is bad and it is worrying. Yet, it can only mean that we have to continue our fight and remind politicians what they are doing is wrong. BBB will look into ways to help you to contact the Spanish and European politicians directly and so increase the pressure on them to stop their support, and particularly any subsidies for bullfighting. We keep you posted.

Posted in corrida, Politics, Spain | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Bogota mayor refuses to fund bullfighting and wants to see art, not death in the arena

Gustavo Petro, the mayor of Bogota, Columbia, has said that wants to close the bullfighting arena in the capital and transform it into an arts centre. Petro, speaking to US broadcaster NTD Television, emphasised that the arena is a public place that should be used for cultural events and not to show events involving death.

Scene from "Seconds before death" by Anthony Letmon.

Petro also confirmed that there would be no funding for any bullfighting events and that neither he nor his staff would use the seating box dedictaed to city offficials in the bull ring, Plaza de Toros de Santamaria.

Columbia has some 86 bull rings and undoubtedly it would be a major step towards a national ban should Bogota transform its ring and even take steps towards abolishing it in the city.

Reactions from outside the bull ring

Tensions are running high at bullfights in the Columbian capital. The two men interviewed by NTD seem to represent the mood on both sides. While one protester at the bullring explained that he smeared blood on his face in order to show the suffering of the animals, an elderly aficionado said that he didn’t like soccer, but he wouldn’t go to the stadium and “insult” people who want to watch it.

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New Madrid mayor cheats to fulfil EU criteria and supports bullfighting

La crew de Cuenca

Okay, it is a mask, but I couldn't get a photo of her.

Ana Botella has just started her new job as mayor of Spain’s capital Madrid. Surely a good thing, was my first reaction. Mind you, she is the first female mayor in the history of the city! She might stir up the macho culture in the bullfighting business a bit. But then, I found this: Ms Botella has been photographed at a recent bullfight at the Feria de San Isidro.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise as Madrid, alongside Andalusia, is the main bullfighting region and the PP has been a staunch supporter of the blood sport. 

Also, the wife of ex Prime Minister, José María Aznar, is from the right wing of the People’s Party and that is not a good sign for anti-bullfighting campaigners or indeed for the bulls.

The good news, if you like, is that she will not have much time or money for las ventas 15bullfighting issues, Madrid’s debt amount to 6.3bn Euros, most of which stems from the unsuccessful 2012 Olympic bid. Yet some actions she has already taken since in office are slightly worrying. Madrid suffers from bad air quality and has struggled to achieve the EU benchmarks. So, the mayor had the air monitoring stations moved from the inner city to the much cleaner outskirts.

I don’t know what the EU officials think about this, but I would call it cheating.

Posted in corrida, Politics, Spain | Tagged | 2 Comments

Video celebrating the Catalonia bullfighting ban

Watch out! Video contains images of animal cruelty.

The Spanish animal welfare party PACMA has published this video showing some gruesome footage of bullfights in Barcelona’s Monumental bull ring, now history following the vote in the Catalan Parliament on 28 July 2010.

There are also some impressive images of the protests that used to take place in front of the bull ring and of a momentous march through Barcelona that thousands attended in 2008. The bullfighting ban came into force on 1 January 2012.

Posted in corrida, Spain | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Bullfighting ban in Catalonia marks the beginning of the end of the cruel blood sport

Bullfighting will be banned in Catalonia from 1 January 2012. A truly historic day for all anti-bullfighting campaigners. For that we owe a huge gratitude to the Prou campaign and others who collected a stunning 180,000 signatures, more than twice the number needed for a referendum. It was a long way, but on 28 July 2010 a majority of Catalan MPs voted in favour of the ban.Bullfight

Of course there are those who will never give up fighting for a return of the old days, when bullfighting was popular and people made money from it. And those who pretend that bullfighting is considered art:

“SPAIN is a nation that widely considers bullfighting to be a noble art, a tradition that passes down through generations as well as an important industry.”, writes Peter Fieldman in Euro Weekly Online.

It’s not and bullfighting will never see its new dawn. It’s still supported, yes. But audiences in bullfighting areas such as Andalusia and Madrid are declining and it seems that the average age is increasing. The young generations are largely opposed to bullfighting and see it for what it is. A cruel outdated past time. Something that cannot be justified in a modern and peaceful society. In other words something that will die out sooner or later. The Catalonia ban is the beginning of the end of bullfighting in Spain. And make no mistake, it won’t survive for long outside its motherland either.Anti-Bullfighting

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all my fellow campaigners, particularly in Spain, Portugal and France. I know that it is a very difficult and sometimes unpleasant job. BBB has reported about violent confrontations with taurinos.

BBB has thrived since the kick off of the campaign in June 2011 and this is thanks to you out there who read the blog and the Facebook page, comment, defend, rant, make suggestions and post articles. So, a big thank you to all of you. I am grateful for you support and look forward to working with all of you in 2012. We are on the right path and with our continued hard work and a bit of luck we will help to bring bullfighting to an end. Sooner rather than later.stop bullfighting

I have really posted a lot of gruesome pictures this year, but for those of you who still need convincing, have a look at this. Or watch this video from a bullfight in Guamo, Columbia on 23 December.

Posted in bullfighting, corrida, Spain | Tagged , | 6 Comments

Please vote for a bullfighting ban on

Bullfighting in Madrid

Bullfighting in Madrid. At Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas in Madrid by George M. Groutas

I normally don’t worry too much about opinion polls, especially not if there are random and appear in celeb magazines. But I got slightly worried when I saw that the ‘Should bullfighting be banned?’ poll on the influential US gossip site got 91 percent ‘No’ votes.

Please visit the site now and help reverse that (preliminary) result. And if you have, please tell your friends and family. And circulate the link to the BBB blog.

I know we cannot vote on every poll out there, but it would send an important message if we turned this one around.

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Did Matt Damon enjoy the bullfight he went to see in Mexico City?

Matt Damon 66ème Festival de Venise (Mostra)

Matt Damon 66ème Festival de Venise (Mostra) by nicogenin

Why anyone would attend a bullfight just to find out ‘how it really is’ is beyond me. Just watch a clip or two on Youtube and you have a pretty good idea.

Maybe someone should have told Matt Damon that and he might have abstained from attending a bullfight at La Monumental arena in Mexico City.

I wonder why he went. If you take a loot at the pictures of a UK tabloid, he wasn’t even interested in the gruesome action in the arena.

Obviously it is up to him how he spends his spare time – he currently is in town to shoot a movie. But why on earth does it have to be bullfighting? If he does not seem to be interested in it anyway? That is just what the fierce bullfighting industry is looking for, free PR from celebrities.

I suggest Mr Damon finds an alternative past time for his filming breaks. How about the actual favourite Mexican past football? Or the number two boxing? Or if he is really into fighting, lucha libre, the Mexican wrestling.

If you got a minute drop  Matt Damon’s agents William Morris Endeavor Entertainment in Beverly Hills a line,, and suggest what he could do instead of  bullfighting.

Posted in international, Mexico, Tourism | Tagged | 5 Comments

Bye-Bye Bullfighting announces series of articles by well-known authors

Bye-Bye Bullfighting today kicks off a series of guest blogs about bullfighting. We are proud to present a variety of experts such as veterinarians, lawyers as well politicians, journalists and ex-torreros who describe their experience, with the cruel sport, tell us about how they see it and what is wrong with it.

The following first article is from Pilar Rahola, a well-known Catalan journalist, writer and former Spanish MP. We will publish more stories in the coming weeks.

Enjoy reading. We look forward to your comments.

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Michelito, the child matador by Pilar Rahola

This is not an article about bullfighting, however it describes the killing of bulls. This is an article about childhood, about the violation of a boy’s rights that are exploited commercially and celebrated publicly, about an apathetic administration that sits idly by when this violation takes place, about a father’s nefariousness over his son and degrading him to a source of income.

This is an article about blessed mortals who visit a plaza (a bullfighting ring) to joyfully watch a child who takes the risk, to be amused by the dark perversity to see a child in front of a bull and to shed crocodile tears if the bull takes the child on its horns.


Michelito Lagravere. Taken Plaza Monumental de Playas de Tijuana, Mexico Verano 2009 – Poncho Equihua (CC BY license).

And it is an article about the bullfighting critics who give it all the cheers in the world. His last bullfight in Cali which sent the 12-year-old, who has been a matador since he was ten, to hospital, to give but one example: “It was all about rotating and dodging, if not running to evade an attack. Tripping, he had to stab four times until the sword of death hit properly.”

The bull had been sufficiently weakened by its wounds and its horns had been shaved. But still a young bull weighing 306 kg was able to inflict injuries on Michelito. Sadly, this had not been the first time Michelito was taken on the horns. Once, in Lima [Peru], he got badly injured and some bullfighting critics argued that the boy was unable to fight a bull and that he should be demoted to the rank of becerristas (bullfighting apprentice) and return to a bullfighting school.

In the meantime, however, he acted like the goose that lays golden eggs in the bull rings in Latin America, making his his father happy, who sensed the business deal of his life in Michelito. The child matador also raised expectations in some fighting bull breeders and the audience watching this kind of violent event was literally drooling.

There are other boys like him, in this glorification of barbarism, and a child bullfight was announced to commemorate the anniversary of the arena in Mexico. The only conclusion you can draw from these enthusiastically announced news is that the world has gone mad. And of course awful and cruel, too.

And let’s not think about the world on the other side of the Atlantic, but remind ourselves that [the matador El] Juli came to “fame” exactly because he started fighting bulls at the age of 15 and became the youngest matador in history as a result. The world applauded him and rejoiced at his performance and celebrated the fact that a minor carries out such madness.

The question is: What do they cheer for? The risk that a minor takes? The imagination that such a gentle person thwarts a big animal? Do the applaud death? The problem is that we allow a 10-year-old to pursue a career as matador (butcher) and applaud his attacks on bulls. All of that is dirty, sad and perverse.

But then, what can you expect from a spectacle that is based on torture and death?

This article is re-published courtesy of Pilar Rahola
Translation by Caroline Waggershauser and Florian Leppla

Posted in Guest blog, international | Tagged , | 1 Comment