I am of two minds about this. On one hand I hate to see the last of the true gladiator challenges disappear but then again bullfighting was not what it used to be when i was a tote. Never mind that Catalonia has become Spain’s version of California and probably have more weirdoes per square kilometer than Haight-Ashbury, they are doing it out of some PETA-like bullshit common nowadays.
Bullfighting goes all the way to Crete in the 10 to 14 century BC when it was called bull jumping. Then it moved to Spain where it developed into the bullfighting played for ages and no on its way out.
In my pre-pubescent days, I remember watching once a week the summary of bullfights that had happened over the weekend from Spain, Mexico and other places. Talking about intense! Bulls back then were humongous animals with a bad attitude, specially the Miura line who probably killed more bullfighters than all other lines combined. Oh yes, I forgot to mention that earlier: Bullfighters regularly got maimed or outright killed back then. Loss of legs were common and even a set of testicles was left on the sand after a great bullfight. There was also the respected custom of sparing the winning bull’s life (or one that showed a great spirit) so again, it was pure gladiator clash of man versus animal.
Then at the beginning of the 1970’s began the pussification of bullfighting. Bad bullfighters or poorly trained newbies were place on the Arena and were getting their asses handed over on a regular basis. Some even ran away from the beast when it came out of the pen, scared shitless at the sight of the animal equivalent of a Ford EF with two lances attaches to the hood coming right at them. The Tauromachy Powers That Be, afraid that people would stop attending the fights, decided that it would be safer to even out the odds and breed a more gentle kind of bull for the events, a metrosexual bull if you like. And to make sure that breeding mistakes were not made, any bull demonstrating too much guts (or had the bad luck that the bullfighter was too drunk, tripped and fell on the horns by accident) was to be killed in the next bullfight. Bulls now became as dangerous as ponies compared to their earlier ancestors and the rate of killing and maiming of bullfighters dropped dramatically.
Of course, the unintended consequence of this pussification was that the true fan of the gore and blood left the sport because there was no true challenge to the bullfighter. There was no honor on facing a scared oxen that would drop dead of a heart attack if the Torero would sneeze a bit too hard near it. So it became a slaughter of animals that were better suited for a petting zoo than the Colosseum and now that the PETA-Type Catalonian crowd intervened, they are gone for good. Better to expire than be a mockery of the men and animals that demonstrated more guts than many of their brethren.
And an old bullfighting joke:
This tourist goes to a restaurant Madrid near Plaza Monumental recommended by a buddy of him. He was told to ask for the house special on Mondays and he did so. He was brought this enormous platter of paella type rice topped with two huge meatballs. The dish was delicious and the guy polished it off. Before leaving, he asked the owner what type of meat were the meatballs made of. The owner smiled and said: “Dear señor, those were not meatballs, they were bull testicles.” The tourist was shocked but since the meal’s flavor was excellent, he did not only did not mind but made a reservation for the following Monday. A week later, the tourist is once more at the table ready to eat and the dish is served but this time the meatballs are small and puny. He calls the owner and points out the size of the portion to which the owner responds: “Señor, sometimes the bull wins.”