The Sadness Behind Bullfighting, In One Photo
This is the face of one of the cruelest sports known to man.
WARNING: Graphic image and video below.
A bull named Rompesuelas, whose name translates roughly to "ground breaker," was the unlucky victim of a festivalcalled the Toro de la Vega in Tordesillas, Spain, on Tuesday.
In the backward ritual, the panicked animal was chased out of the town by a group of spear-carrying men on horseback. For 20 minutes, a bloodthirsty crowd surrounded and tortured the confused bull.
A video shows a glimpse of the horror he experienced before he died. Surrounded by eager men, the bleeding bull barely puts up a fight, standing confusedly in the center of the crowd and only making frightened, half-hearted lunges toward those who seek to kill him.
A man runs at him with a long spear, stabbing him as he passes - and again the bull just stands still, frightened, as he's stabbed. Blood begins to stream from the wound, drenching his leg in red, and from an open wound on his back. He stumbles, then falls, collapsing onto the ground as the men around him enclose him and cheer.
One man runs up to pat the bull, grabbing at his horn as the bull's dying eyes stare, lost, into the camera.
The routine is supposed to be a "competition," but the bull's death grew even more meaningless when officials declared there was no winner due to official rules being broken.
There's no doubt the "festival" is pure cruelty, a ritualized form of animal torture designed for the base pleasure of the people involved. But while 74 percent of Spanish citizens oppose the practice, according to a poll commissioned by Humane Society International (HSI), local politicians have clung to it out of fear of backlash from the vocal, bloodthirsty minority.
Each year thousands of bulls are killed and tortured in Spanish festivals like this one, and it's easy for the pain of the individual animals to be obscured by the numbers. But one look at Rompesulas' fading eyes shows that if even one bull experiences an end like this, it's one too many.
If you'd like to help, you can sign an HSI petition calling for an end to this brutal practice.