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The Manipulation of Bulls

Afeitado, Drugging and Others

There is widespread fraudulent manipulation of the animals in bullfighting. These practices lower the bulls defences and can cause great suffering.


Bulls are initially manipulated by being bred to be slow, simple and predictable.


The cutting, filing or shaving down of horns.

This affects the judgement of distances of the bull and can create a tenderness or pain in the horn with the obvious effects this would have. The most devastating effect of afeitado is that it is tantamount to a psychological castration.

Afeitado is allowed on the bulls that are fought in Rejones, the mounted form of bullfighting, in these the butchery carried out on the horns is incredible.


The use of hypnotic, tranquillising and paralysing drugs. Andres Martinez Carrillo, the official veterinarian of the bullring at Colmenor Viejo, and Las Ventas, Madrid, exposed this in 1988 in El Pais.

NB. Drugging of animals is very common in the street fiestas.

The Administrations of Substances

to Undermine and Weaken the Bull

Epsom salts in huge quantities, 4 or 5 kilos per bull, is given. This, apart from the obvious effect of purging, dehydrates the animal and causes it to drink copious amounts of water thus bloating and slowing it down.

Salt is also forcibly given to create thirst and the over abundant intake of water.

There are other manipulations and abuses carried out on the bulls to prepare them for the ring.


The horses used in the Suelta de Varas or Picadors act are considered little more than living platforms from which to attack the bull. An average of two hundred a year are killed in the bullrings

The horses are blindfolded, newspaper is stuffed in wads in their ears and brutal treatment is commonplace when they are injured or dying.

A horse was disembowelled at Las Ventas, to try to get it to it's feet, they set fire to it's testicles. The man responsible continued in his employment.


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