The crowd had begun waving white napkins and chanting, “Kill the bull! Kill the bull!” [Pedrito] recalled in an interview. Eager to satisfy, he pulled out his sword and stabbed the raging half-ton bull in its spinal cord. He received a standing ovation, was hoisted on the crowd’s shoulders and paraded through the streets....We are lovers! We fight bulls but don't kill them. Our dictators are less authoritarian, and our conquerors refrain from pillaging. Come on, that's a concept of love, isn't it?
The case spawned a national debate here. His supporters argue that a death-free struggle is a sacrilege because the culmination of a bullfight should reflect man’s ultimate triumph or defeat against the bull, while critics contend that Portugal must retain its civility and show humanity to animals....
Sociologists here say that bullfighting in Portugal is less of a blood sport than in Spain because the Portuguese, compared with the Spanish, are “soft machos.”
Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, a leading cultural commentator, notes in this regard that António de Oliveira Salazar, the dictator who ruled Portugal for nearly 40 years, was less authoritarian than Francisco Franco in Spain. Furthermore, he says, rather than pillaging their empire, as the Spanish did, the Portuguese married and reproduced with the inhabitants of their colonies.
“We Portuguese are lovers, not fighters,” he said. “And this is reflected in most aspects of our culture, including our approach to bullfighting.”
August 12, 2007
"Bullfighting in Portugal... deprives the bull of his dignity." It's illegal to kill the bull in Portugal, but one bullfighter did, and he's been fined $137,000: