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Now can we stop bullfights?

Now can we stop bullfights?
Matador Victor Barrio on the ground after being gored during a bullfight in the Teruel bullring, east of Spain, on July 9. (Castilla La Mancha TV via Associated Press)

Everyone can agree that it's horrible that a Spanish matador was gored to death in a bullfighting ring in eastern Spain on Saturday. And that another man died after being gored by a bull in one of the numerous village bull runs taking place elsewhere in the country the same day. But it shouldn't require such grisly deaths for  people to realize that bullfighting is a brutal and anachronistic sport — dangerous for the people who participate and grossly inhumane to bulls.

The matador, Victor Barrio, was the first to die in Spain since 1985. The running of the bulls in Pamplona on Saturday left about a dozen people injured.  Over the last century, 15 people have died during the Pamplona events.

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Whatever the odds, they don't justify the bloodshed, human or animal.  And there's plenty on the animal side. According to Humane Society International, an estimated 250,000 bulls are killed worldwide each year in bullfights. And before they're killed in the ring, they're stabbed multiple times, so that their deaths are slow and painful.

The injured bull, named Lorenzo, that killed the matador was quickly dispatched on Saturday. Lorenzo's mother (a cow named Lorenza) was also killed, presumably to stop the "bad lineage," as per tradition (although ranchers are now telling reporters, conveniently, that the cow was put down due to old age).  It seems that the Spanish have compounded the unfortunate killing of the matador with an utterly unnecessary and vengeful one.  That's just medieval.

According to  a Humane Society International poll from 2013, only 29% of the Spanish population supports bullfighting. In Mexico, bullfighting is already banned in three states.

This is no cultural legacy for Spain or Mexico or any other country to pride itself on.  It's time to put an end to these horrific rituals.

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