Behind the bullfights, flashy tourist spectacles in which activists see cruelty and aficionados see strategy, technique and art, is a special breed of bull whose breeding keeps 500 thousand hectares in Spain – almost the size of the Brazilian Federal District.
Called a Lydian bull – or simply a wild bull – he is one of the few herbivores to attack to defend his territory instead of fleeing, and his wild temper demands that he be raised freely.
Ranchers claim that their cattle are very animal-friendly and compare it to that of beef cattle, in which an ox can be confined to 9 m² (EU minimum setting), is frequently stressed and slaughtered when it reaches about 450 kg, from 18 months.
In the herds of wild bulls, each grazes in the equivalent of three city blocks (30 thousand m²), a breeding method favorable to plant and animal biodiversity according to the region’s Ministry of Agriculture. of Extremadura and the Biodiversity Foundation, which signed an agreement to support the activity. Courageous bulls also live longer – at least two years, when the process of selecting females that will breed for up to two decades begins.
As animal rights groups celebrate the almost complete halt of Spanish bullfighting due to the coronavirus pandemic, industry insiders warn of a much broader and quieter environmental catastrophe. Cattle ranchers say that without bullfighting, sustainable farms tend to disappear.
Understand, in an infographic, how brave bulls live and how bullfighting works.