JM Coetzee: Bullfighting Is a Disgrace
  • 17
  • May

JM Coetzee: Bullfighting Is a Disgrace

CoetzeeAcclaimed South African writer JM Coetzee didn’t mince words this week as he dispatched a scathing letter to the Culture Committee of Spain, criticising its support for bullfighting.

The Nobel Prize winner’s rousing message urged committee members to reject a pending initiative, sparked by bullfighting aficionados, which would give bullfighting legal protection as a “cultural pastime”. Here’s an extract:

Bullfighting is an archaic form of entertainment. It is a violent, bloody spectacle – a throwback to a time when people took no heed of the feelings of animals and the bull was an object of torment for boys who wanted to impress their fellows.

Bullfighting has had a long history in Spain, but times and sensibilities have now changed. Today, we see clearly that it is not fair to pit a skilled, practised, sword-wielding matador against an unwilling, confused, maimed, psychologically tormented and physically debilitated animal.

Tormenting and butchering bulls for entertainment belongs in the Dark Ages – not in 21st century Spain.

A committed vegetarian , Coetzee has spoken up for animals before and writes about the moral case for compassion in books such as Elizabeth Costello and Disgrace, which won the Booker prize in 1999.

We Animals_Bullfighting

Every year, more than 40,000 bulls are violently slaughtered during Spanish bullfights. It’s an indefensible situation, and 76 per cent of Spaniards say that they have no interest in the barbaric ritual.

The good news is that the movement to end bullfighting is creative, diverse and constantly growing! Just last week, supermodel Elen Rivas also appealed to Spanish authorities, and thousands of people rallied in Alès, France, against the cruel industry. Animal-protection groups are working together to stop the proposed measures to protect bullfighting, and in the last few weeks alone, more than 13,000 PETA supporters in the UK have written to the Spanish ambassador. Will you join them?

Take Action Now

Image of JM Coetzee: Mariusz Kubik/CC BY SA-3.0

Bullfighting image: Jo-Anne McArthur/We Animals


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  1. avatar Mark Bloxham says:

    this is a sick and barbaric torture of animals and this country is in the EU

  2. avatar Maggie Cranfield says:

    Stop the madness!!!

  3. avatar Susan Goodwin says:

    I agree fully with the sentiments spoken hear and would dearly like to see this and all other barbaric rituals involving animals banned for good.

  4. Civilization ? I think not

  5. avatar gillian rose says:

    barbaric and totally medieval practise, has no place in modern society whatsoever….

  6. avatar christine cummings says:

    I would never think of visiting a country who thinks mutilating a defenceless animal for pleasure is tradition The Spanish people who think this is acceptable are lowlife scum

  7. avatar Jen rankin says:


  8. avatar Daryl Michael says:

    Coetzee is spot on, it is archaic and most of us have evolved since this was thought of as entertainment.

  9. This is barbaric, a throw back to medieval times. Surely people are more civilised now and can see the total horror of watching beautiful animals killed slowly, in great agony, for sport ? We shall never come back to Spain until this horrendous “sport” is abolished for ever.

  10. avatar Susie Edgington says:

    Please stop this barbaric sport….. Pointless and cruel.

  11. avatar anne watkins says:

    does that idiot in pink think hes a man because he tortured and killed an innocent animal ,shame on him and the people like him ,a true man shows kindness and empathy ,they need to learn a little about wat a true man is about

  12. avatar Linda Ågren says:

    This is the worst qruelty there is.. Stop this now!!!!! This will nerver be okay.

  13. avatar Eleonora Kindel says:

    It exists also in France. This weekend’s “Feria de Nîmes” including two corridas was cancelled because of the heavy rain.Corrida “a la française” has a very strong lobby in French Gouvernement.

  14. avatar Leeanne Wright says:

    This is barbaric and totally unacceptable. Any country in the EU who still have these medieval rituals, should be kicked out of the EU :(

  15. avatar Sam H says:

    I had no idea that 40,000 bulls are killed like this every year. Not that the numbers make a difference, wrong is wrong.

  16. avatar gill turner says:

    how anyone can watch something like this. its disgusting that poor animal .this can be stopped by the right person.

  17. avatar anne lewis says:

    This is absolutely disgusting, how can anyone get enjoyment watching these poor animals be tortured like that, it MUST be stopped

  18. avatar val binns says:

    I have never been to spain on holiday because of the bullfighting. I would feel so sick to be in a country which can inflict such horrendous pain and suffering to defenceless and innocent animals. how people can enjoy seeing such beautiful creature suffering for their amusement in beyond me. in this day and age a bill should be passed to end this barbaric sport

  19. avatar Veronica says:

    This a cruel vile practice and needs to be stopped now. It is cruel to put a bull in the ring to be tortued and then killed. They don’t stand a chance . How horrible people can sit and watch this i’ll never understand. Matadors make me feel ill. i loathe them.

  20. avatar Moira Fenning says:

    Please end thsi torture. What type of sadistic people can watch this Barbarity

  21. avatar chhavi sharma says:

    this is so not done …..Spain …please …..this is just so inhuman… and there actually is no WINNER !!!! ..for whom do we commit such sins ?? this is heartbreaking !

  22. avatar &. says:

    the Rajoy goverment wants to declare this torture as a national action!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    In Spain we’re protesting for that but we need help outside as well.
    UE must prohibit to Spain this kind of things.

  23. […] world have been sending messages to Spanish embassies to oppose this barbaric spectacle, including Nobel Prize winner JM Coetzee. There’s not much time left before the committee makes its decision about whether to protect […]

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