Spectacle of cruelty – “Bloodless” bullfighting comes to Toronto

Written by:  Heather Clemenceau

Horses are at grave risk in bullfights

Horses are at grave risk in bullfights

I was recently shocked to discover that Portuguese “bloodless” bullfighting (corrida incruenta) was occurring in Toronto a few weeks ago, and was sanctioned by the Ontario government.  You may think that a “bloodless” bullfight is comparable to teasing the angry neighbourhood dog, but such is not the case.  Bullfights, whether traditional or “bloodless” all have the same narrative of dominance over the “beast.”

“Bloodless” bullfights are actually something of a misnomer – anyone – human or animal, can still be maimed or killed at this event.

Please continue reading here.


  1. jean robertson · ·

    With all the entertainment available now a days I can not believe people would pay to see animals treated this way. And then most likely butchered out of sight. Sick people.

  2. Marie Dean · ·

    When will the madness inflicted on animals end? My God, seriously? So “bloodless” cruelty is a way to acceptance? If these people would spend their energy on helping their neighbour or their community or their province or helping to fight cancer, or whatever, rather than “entertainment themselves” we as human beings would be so much more advanced! Shaking my head here – what the ….

  3. Hello again MJ, Much of what you’ve written is only confirming what I’ve already written. I agree with you that there are many deeply lamentable things happening in both styles of bullfighting.

    I’ve seen the pics of an event in Arthur Ontario where the rope was used and participants taunted the bulls with umbrellas. To my mind, this is still an example of cruel treatment of an animal, not to mention that they may be injured (along with the people tainting them) by umbrella tips. I am also wondering what kind of insurance the towns ask the organizers to maintain – if you’ve seen any videos of matadors losing their balance and being gored, you know that if the pros can make mistakes, amateurs can surely do so also, even with young, less aggressive bulls. I’ve organized events in parks myself and have been required to provide proof of millions of dollars in liability, AND the presence of a St. John’s Ambulance attendant – just so that people could WALK around a park. I sure hope they have an ambulance on standby at these events!

    As far as the possibility of horses here goes, we contacted the organizers and we were told that two horses were being used at the event in Downsview Park, so I based my blog in part on what we were told about the event. It seems the time of the protest and the actual event didn’t align up, so we didn’t get to confirm the presence of horses with a visual. The event was out of the jurisdiction of Toronto Animal Services but they did attend along with the OSPCA. I do not personally know whether the OSPCA have attended in the past or have been invited to future events but will ask. The man “handling” the bulls while wearing a butcher shop T-shirt makes me uncomfortable TBH. Everything I have read about both Spanish and Portuguese bullfighting indicates that the bulls are slaughtered after the event. The difference has typically been that the Portuguese bulls have been slaughtered out-of-sight.

    In the recent past I’ve found that in Toronto particularly, there are all sorts of unorthodox and unexpected foods being consumed, even apparently bushmeat and other types of meat that are apparently uninspected. Slaughtering of bulls would be my expectation. I’d love to be able to rule that out but it’s impossible to follow the movement of the bulls after they leave the stadium. You have to admit that it’s quite an odd coincidence that the man overseeing the bulls is advertising a butcher shop?

  4. MJ Figueira · ·

    Hi Heather – some of your facts are incorrect. First of all there is no bullfighting done in Ontario without the the OSPCA surpervising. The bullifighting that is done here is called “torreada a corda”, which means – bullfighting with a rope. The horses are not used. There is a rope tied around the horses horns and usually old men go up and taunt it. The horses are not used in this type of bullfighting. The Ontario Government and the OSPCA have never, I say never allowed the traditional type of Portuguese and Spanish bullfighting here. You are right in the fact that the Portuguese and Spanish bullfighting are completely different. We are more humane than the Spanish. Please note that the Spanish as of a year or so ago have disallowed the killing of the bull in front of the audience. We, Portuguese have never allowed it. The Nosso Talho tee shirt on the man is his advertising for his butcher shop which is a very large, well known butcher shop in Toronto. The Portuguese to my knowleged have never eaten bull nor horses. At least I have never seen it on a menu. Although I am Portuguese, I do not like bullfighting and it is one the traditions I frown upon. It is a big tradition on the Islands of the Acores. The Lusitanos that were used and again I am not in favour of this, are very highly trained and are well prized by their owners. I do not agree with this either. But then these old European traditions die very hard. I suggest you check with the Ontario Government first because I have never heard of the typical bullfighting as you describe come to Ontario. The only venues that have this are the Orangeville Fairgrounds and Madeiar Park (which i am member of) which will take place on Saturday August 3. You are very welcomed to attend and check the “torreada a corda”.

  5. MJ Figueira · ·

    Please see my comments below. Some of the facts are incorrect.



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