As it nears the end of my year long exchange program in Switzerland, I have started to notice some “adult” symptoms that will, in turn, make me neurotic and grown up. Yes it worries me. The sudden spell of insomnia haunts me during the day while my best productive hours are after midnight. My growing fear of heights is telling me that I am becoming more rational, more like a grown up. But what really made me realize that I am on my way to being an “adult,” is when I threw up out of emotion while watching a bull fight in Madrid.
I have seen bull fights before–and I remained detached from it, almost bored by the fact that I was being entertained by animal slaughter, something almost as gruesome as the meat industry itself. I would roll my eyes when I saw girls crying because I knew that someone had told them before they entered the arena that “the bull doesn’t actually die–he just pretends” but the the blood starts flowing, caking the black fur, and the bull starts to pant, but it is when the Toreador takes a small dagger and stabs it in the neck that the girls suddenly realize that the bull isn’t just playing dead.
But now, I am grown. I have feelings that are not overruled by hormones. This time, the first ribboned stick was shoved into the bull’s shoulder blades and I couldn’t keep my hot dog down. This animal was in pain with Sangria-colored blood running down its back but still putting up a good fight. He fought until the last minute even though he knew the odds were not in his favor. I stayed ans watched the entire show, knowing that they did this every day in the month of May to celebrate the Patron Saint of Madrid. Everyday, six bulls were doomed.
I still cannot decide if this tradition should be preserved or banned (like they already did in Catalonia). On one hand, its a tradition that is brutal, but not even as bad as the meat industry, and the dead bull is sold to restaurants around the country. But on the other hand, does it count as animal cruelty? These bulls are born in order to fight, and essentially die. Is this fair?