Each year thousands of bulls around the world will die in the most brutal way in the name of entertainment. Calves are also tortured and killed by children.
A torero (Spanish) or toureiro (Portuguese) is a bullfighter and the main performer in bullfighting, practised in Spain, Portugal, Mexico, Peru, France and various other countries influenced by Spanish culture. In Spanish, the word torero describes any of the performers who actively participate in the bullfight. The main performer is the leader of an entourage and the one who kills the bull, being addressed as maestro (master) and his formal title is matador de toros (killer of bulls), but the word “matador” by itself is not used in Spanish.
A common misconception is that it is a fair fight between the bull and the torero. What many don’t realise is that the bulls have been abused for days before they appear in the arena, in fact they run into the arena thinking they are escaping from their tormentors. They will have been beaten, had their horns shaved to throw them off balance, had petroleum jelly rubbed into their eyes so they are nearly blinded and a needle stuck into their genitals.
[The bull is a] half-blinded and mentally destroyed version, whose chances of harming his tormentors is virtually nil. The bull has wet newspapers stuffed into his ears; vaseline is rubbed into his eyes to blur his vision; cotton is stuffed up his nostrils to cut off his respiration and a needle is stuck into his genitals. Also, a strong caustic solution is rubbed onto his legs which throws him off balance. This also keeps him from lying down on the ground. In addition to this, drugs are administered to pep him up or slow him down, and strong laxatives are added to his feed to further incapacitate him. He is kept in a dark box for a couple of days before he faces the ring: the purpose of this is to disorientate him. When he is let out of the box, he runs desperately towards the light at the end of the tunnel. He thinks that at last his suffering is over and he is being set free — instead, he runs into the bullring to face his killers and a jeering mob.
The bull enters the arena and the men on horses drive lances into his back and neck muscles. This means that he finds it very hard to lift his head to defend himself. They twist the lances to increase the blood loss. The banderilleros then enter the arena on foot and plunge banderillas — brightly coloured sticks with harpoon points — into his back. When the bull has become weak from blood loss they run him in circles until he becomes dizzy and stops chasing them. The matador then appears and attempts to kill the bull with his sword. If he misses an executioner will be called in to kill the bull by cutting his spinal cord, however this can sometimes go wrong leaving the bull conscious but paralysed.
The bull is then dragged out of the arena and another brought in to play out the barbaric spectacle all over again.