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Bullfights: An Art or Animal Torture?

Spain has always fascinated me. Casual acquaintances would surmise that I love Spain because it is one of the many destinations for my wanderlust but that isn't the case. You see, the rhythm of the flamenco and the intensity of the paella are coursing through my veins. I have in me the same blood that runs in Julio Iglesias's. Pure Spanish heritage, not to mention good looks.

This passion for Spain is, therefore, very natural for me. I eat and breathe everything Spanish-- from food and fashion, resorts and hotels, siestas and fiestas, Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Ricky Martin. But if there is one thing that truly amazes me about this country, it is the bullfighting. There is something gripping about it that keeps me at the edge of my seat— literally!    

Of course, once you have Spain stamped on your passport, don't indulge in bullfights or white sandy beaches for six weeks. Spain offers more than what meets the eye or the credit card. But let me talk about bullfights for the time being. After all, this is one of the most popular and controversial Spanish customs there is--almost like a sacred cow (pun intended). But animal rights or not, people--Spanish residents or otherwise--continue to enjoy this art, drama, or sport, whichever way you want to call it. It's an art, I say.

For the uninitiated, bull fighting boasts of mataderos or toreros who execute graceful moves while a raging bull snorts nearby. The matadero should show confidence throughout the entire performance, as the bull, who is by this time fuming mad because he hates the color red and the matadero's fashion sense, crouches in attack mode. Bullfights have received the ire of animal rights activists because the matadero has to bring the bull to its death for the finale of the performance. The term matadero is the Spanish word for
"killer."

I can't blame you if you feel that bullfighting is a form of animal torture. However, you must also understand that it is one of the things that makes Spain a wonder to tourists and residents. I suggest that you visit Plaza de Toros La Malagueta in Malaga if you feel that you are up to the challenge of watching live bull fights-- just as it takes guts and grit to be the bull or the matadero.


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