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Call for Church to ban bullfighting

As a practising Catholic, I am saddened to say that the moral aspect of our treatment of other creatures is a part of Catholic teaching which we have long neglected. Pope Francis is trying to put that right. We should support him by expressing our abhorrence of cruel spectacles. The Spanish bullfight, the corrida, is the ritual torturing to death of bulls. It is practiced by Catholics, in a Catholic country, and paid for by Catholic spectators, as well as by tourists.

The Catholic religion is further associated with the corrida in various ways including bullfights taking place to celebrate feast days of Saints.

The Corrida is the ritual torturing to death of bulls in the guise of entertainment

Horses also are cruelly abused, maimed and killed during the bullfight.

Before the bull enters the ring, he is damaged to lessen his fighting ability. The methods which could be used include shaving down his horns, rubbing Vaseline into his eyes, severing the tendons on the back of his neck, stuffing wet newspapers into his ears, pushing cotton wool into his nostrils, sticking needles into his genitals, rubbing a burning chemical into his legs.

During the bullfight, the bull suffers prolonged and agonising torture before he dies. First, picadors stab the bull in the neck with lances.Then banderilleros stick spears into the bull's shoulders.Then the matador thrusts his sword between the bull's shoulder blades into his heart. This can take several attempts. If it's botched, a sword is then used to cut the bull's spinal cord.The bull is confused, distressed and in agony throughout this spectacle. Many thousands of bulls are used in bullfights every year. Thousands of horses also are injured or killed every year in bullfights.

Pope St Pius V described bullfights as ''a spectacle for demons rather than men.''

The corrida brings the Catholic Church into disrepute for the following reasons :-

1) It is associated with Catholic countries - Spain and Portugal.
2) Its extreme cruelty makes it a serious sin, yet priests and bishops have remained silent about it, or have promoted it.
3) Catholics who attend Mass and receive the Sacraments also attend the corrida.
4) Bullfights are held to benefit local churches, and in honour of specific saints.
5) The Catholic Encyclopedia online actually makes excuses for and defends the bullfight.

Virginia Bell, Catholic Action for Animals