October 22, 2008
Tourists Unwittingly Support Cruel Bullfighting Industry
WASHINGTON — Humane Society International asks travelers heading for warmer climates this winter to leave bullfights off the itinerary.
"Many spectators at bullfights are tourists, and choosing not to patronize these cruel spectacles will ultimately lead to the end of bullfighting. For example, more than 90 percent of bullfight spectators in Cancun, Mexico are from the United States or Canada," said Susan Prolman, HSI director of international campaigns.
Bullfighting is illegal in many countries, including Argentina, Canada, Cuba and Italy. Bullfights take place in Spain, France, Portugal, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, Peru and Ecuador. In these countries, pressure against bullfighting is increasing. Some Spanish cities, such as Calonge, Tossa de Mar, Vilamacolum and La Vajol, as well as the Mexican city of Jalopa have banned it.
At bullfights, spectators cheer as bulls are taunted, injured and often killed in the name of entertainment. Veterinarians, zoologists and former matadors agree that bulls are submitted to unnecessary suffering both in and out of the ring. Bullfighting creates an atmosphere that desensitizes people — especially impressionable children and young adults — to suffering.
In countries that still allow bullfighting, only a small and declining percent of the local population participates. Seventy-two percent of Spaniards have no interest in bullfighting, according to a 2006 survey. The already low interest is expected to continue declining in the years ahead. The bullfighting industry receives significant financial support from foreign tourists whose tourism dollars are better spent pursuing other cultural events. HSI encourages travelers to discover the many sights and sounds these countries have to offer — away from the bullfighting rings. Many places features outdoor markets, live music, salsa, museums and of course, beaches and more beaches.
The bullfighting industry also receives government subsidies, despite growing taxpayer opposition. Humane Society International is confronting the use of public funds to support bullfighting.
To learn more about Humane Society International's work to combat bullfighting, please click here.
Humane Society International is the international arm of The Humane Society of the United States, the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 10.5 million Americans, or one of every 30. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the web at hsi.org.