Across the world, the audience applauds and cheers as a bull is senselessly killed and suffers a slow and agonizing death. What fills that arena is blood!  As an animal lover, I really do feel ashamed that Spain is famous for bullfighting and that the matadors are seen as heroes of the Iberian Peninsula.  According to my DNA test from Ancestry.com, I have a 33 percent heritage from the Iberian Peninsula.  Even though I am proud of my roots, I see bullfighting as barbaric.

I am not an advocate of hunting animals, but I know that an animal that is gunned down suffers less than one that is killed by a matador.  As spectators clap in the arena, they are celebrating the long and painful death of an animal.  What do you think that says about the human race?  Are we more savage than wild animals.

Some people may disagree with me and see bullfighting as an art and a part of Spanish culture.  Ernest Hemingway, who is one of my favorite authors, loved visiting Spain and loved it.  In his novel, The Sun Also Rises, he described bullfighting as a philosophy of life.  Even his eloquent writings could never convince me that bullfighting was a part of my ancestors culture.  I regard my Spanish descendants as civilized people and not as savages.  Knowing that they were animal lovers like me, I doubt that they ever cheered in an arena where a bull was senselessly mutilated and killed.

In the past, many Spaniards supported bullfighting, but now they are changing their minds.  According to a recent poll conducted by World Animal Protection, an animal welfare organization, there were 19 percent of adults in Spain who supported bullfighting.  There was a staggering 58 percent of Spaniards who opposed bullfighting.

Across Spain, many people are protesting against bullfighting.  In 2011, bullfighting was illegal in the Catalonia region of Spain.  Animal rights groups, such as CAS International, are fighting very hard to end bullfighting once and for all.  They work with every sector of the population from politicians and the general public to educate individuals and help turn them into advocates that support animal rights.

Not only is bullfighting lethal to the bull, it can also result in the death of the matador.  Over the past three centuries, 534 professional bullfighters have died in the arena.  Ivan Fandino, who was a famous bullfighter, died after he was impaled by a bull on June 17, 2017 in France.

Does the beautiful country of Spain really need the tourism that comes from bullfighting?  Of course not, since civilized tourists come to Spain to enjoy history, art and culture.  Most of them do not travel to Spain to see a bull gradually killed.  They travel to Spain to have a good time and celebrate life, not the death of an innocent bull.

In 2017, Spain acquired the distinction of being the second most visited country in the world.  There were 82 million tourists that came to Spain.  They came to see all the rich culture, not the bullfighting.  They came to see Barcelona, which many people think is one of the happiest places in the world.  They also visited Spain to see many other cultural sites.

As Spaniards, do we really want to be known for bullfighting?  The answer should be no.  Spain is the land that served as the inspiration for Miguel de Cervantes work, Don Quijote de La Mancha.  Pablo Picasso’s birthplace is Spain. Even today, lovers of art and critics are still trying to decipher the meaning of his works of art.  Spain is a region of many UNESCO sites including the beautiful and colorful Alhambra.  Having a rich cuisine that tourists love, Spain is famous for it’s Paellas.

With such a rich cultural heritage, why should Spain be put on the map for bullfighting?  The day that bullfighting ends in Spain is the day that I will be 100 percent proud of my Spanish roots, and I will say, “Ole.”