To anyone who is thinking about seeing their first bullfight this year in Pamplona at the Running of the Bulls, this article will prepare you for the conundrum of emotions the spectacle will probably put you through.
The quote below was taken from an article recently published by Sergio del Molino, an author who defines himself as both of the political Left and as anti-bullfighting, who accepted an invitation by the Fundación del Toro de Lidia, ‘the Foundation of the Fighting Bull’ to see a bullfight for the first time.
I felt very strange saying it. I resisted saying it. I thought that the disgust, the animal smell, the brutality of the rite and the closeness to blood and death would make it unbearable for me, and I did not rule out having to leave there after ten minutes, incapable of watching more. However, I not only ‘endured’ the entire bullfight, but found myself fascinated. […] I barely understood the ritual significance of each scene. I only knew that I had been affected greatly and in a good way. To perceive and portray it otherwise would have been hypocritical. In the eyes of my mother, this feeling made some kind of psychopath, someone no less despicable than a proselytizer for Nazism. How can I tell her this, I thought, knowing that she would not understand me, but I could not lie to her and tell her that I had been disgusted at this animal torture show because it simply was not true: I knew that I had attended something beautiful.
You can read the full English translation of the article with an introduction by our bullfighting expert Alexander Fiske-Harrison on his site here. We also publish resources about the ethics of bullfighting on our site.