The Marchig Animal Welfare Trust is is opposed to the brutal and barbaric pastime of bullfighting in Portugal.

As with any other bullfight, Portuguese-style bullfights are vicious spectacles, undertaken merely to provide so-called ‘artistic entertainment’ and pleasure for the watching people, but which cause real cruelty, terror and suffering for the animals involved.

Prior to the actual fights, bulls are transported to the bullrings in cramped cages.  Once there, the ends of the horns which are extremely sensitive are sawn off, causing blood loss and severe pain.  This practice also causes the bulls to become confused, as the ends of the horns are used to help guide the animal’s movements.  The bulls are then deprived of food and water right up to the moment they enter the ring, leaving them weak.
Tormented by bullfighters on horseback Driven by the sheer terror

Far from being the aggressive animal that supporters of bullfighting would have us believe, the bulls behaviour in the bullring is driven by the sheer terror it now feels and senses as the crowd bay for the torment to begin.  This fear is increased by the sheer physical suffering the bull endures, as it is tormented by bullfighters on horseback that drive several long harpoon style spears into the animals back and neck muscles.  As a result of all this brutality, the bull becomes further physically weaker as the blood loss begins to take effect causing feverish dizziness.  The horses too are often badly injured. 

It is at this time, that a group of eight men called ‘forcados’ push and kick the bull, whilst pulling violently on its tail.  This lasts for some thirty minutes after which the bull is taken from the ring and the harpoon style spears removed, by cutting into the flesh around the spears.  No anaesthesia or pain relief of any kind is given.  The bull is then left, sometimes for up to two days, before being taken off to the slaughterhouse where it will be killed and its torment finally brought to an end.

In the town of Barrancos close to the Spanish border, bulls are allowed to be killed in the arena ‘Spanish style’ by having a sword driven into the heart, although it is also known to happen illegally and with impunity in some other towns in the Alentejo region of Portugal.

“Such deliberate torment, suffering and cruelty for spectacle and pleasure has no place whatsoever in a civilised society”.

Standards of morals, ethics and decency change from generation to generation and what may have once been acceptable under the guise of “tradition”, is no longer the case in the 21st Century.  Such deliberate torment, suffering and cruelty for spectacle and pleasure have no place whatsoever in a civilised society.  Bullfighting in Portugal and in other countries around the world must be brought to an end - now!

January 2008



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