Bloodless Bullfighting


A distinct type of bloodless bullfighting is practised in California’s Central Valley. In this historically Portuguese-settled area, a form of bullfight has developed in which the bull is taunted by a matador, but the lances are tipped with velcro and aimed at velcro patches secured to the bull’s shoulder.

Portugese bullfighting is “bloodless” as it does not involve killing the bull. Fights occur from May through October around traditional Portuguese holidays.

We actually find the blood sport of slaughtering the beast in the arena to be disgustingly cruel and wasteful. Portuguese bulls are put back to stud, where in the U.S. and the Azores they live the life of an average farm bull (and sometimes reused in the arena), and in mainland Portugal they’re pampered stud animals, with the best commanding the highest fees for their services. In fact, the bullfighting industry in Spain often uses Portuguese bulls for stud since they’ve wasted their own.

bullfightingAfter the matadores “finish tiring out” the bull, eight young men called the forcados line up facing the animal. Their task is to “coax the bull into charging”; when he does, one young man takes the “full force of the hit with a pega de cara (face plant),” wraps his arms around the animal’s horns and is pushed back into the seven other men. Some grab at the bulls’s tail, all with the aim of getting him to stand still for a few seconds: if such occurs, the forcados “win”; if the bull keeps scattering them around, they lose.

Following all this, a herd of cows is ushered into the ring and the bull is escorted off to retire.

Portuguese bullfights are held in California due to people from Portugal emigrating from places such as the Azores Islands.

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