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Bullfighting is criticized by animal rights activists, referring to it as a cruel or barbaric blood sport, in which the bull suffers severe stress and a slow, torturous death. A number of animal rights or animal welfare activist groups undertake anti-bullfighting actions in Spain and other countries. Others, such as author Alexander Fiske-Harrison who trained as a bullfighter to research for a book on the subject, have argued that there are mitigating circumstances to this: "In terms of animal welfare, the fighting bull lives four to six years whereas the meat cow lives one to two. What it is more, it doesn’t just live in the sense of existing, it lives a full and natural life. Those years are spent free roaming in the dehesa, the lightly wooded natural pastureland which is the residue of the ancient forests of Spain. It is a rural idyll, although with the modern additions of full veterinary care and an absence of predators big enough to threaten evolution’s answer to a main battle tank." Other arguments include that the death of animals in slaughterhouses is very often worse than the death in the ring, and that both types of animal die for entertainment since humans do not need to consume meat, eating it instead for taste (bulls enter the food chain after the bullfight). It has also been noted by critics that bullfighting is financed with public money. In 2007, the Spanish fighting bull breeding industry was allocated 500 million euros in grants and in 2008 almost 600 million. Some of this money comes from European funds to livestock. Bullfighting supporters argue that almost every single cultural endeavour in Europe is partially financed by public money and few of them generate the kind of revenue and taxes in return that bullfighting does through its impact on businesses like hotels, restaurants, insurances and other industries directly or indirectly linked to the spectacle. In Spain, bullfighting constitutes an estimated 12% of the 15 billion € entertainment industry. Jose María Manzanares bullfighting a bull of Juan Pedro Domecq. -Puerto de Santa Maria, Cádiz, 2013-

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03 Jan 2016
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