Bullfighting in Acho. (Photo: Vladimir Terán Altamirano/Tauromaquias.com)
Spain isn’t the only country where bullfighting takes place, so as a tourist be careful you’re not drawn into something you don’t want to see. In Peru, the Acho 2013 bullfighting festival is about to take place: this article looks at both sides of the argument.
Acho 2013, Peru’s annual bullfighting extravaganza, will soon take place in Lima.
If you’re not familiar with the bullfighting scene in Peru, here’s a brief rundown: Acho, the oldest bullring in the Americas, is located in the Rímac district of Lima. It’s a very impressive structure; built in 1765, the wood and adobe arena is still in use today. In fact, it’s the site of Peru’s biggest bullfighting event, the yearly fair held in honor of el Señor de los Milagros . Bullfights also take place in other regions of Peru, but Acho is the pinnacle of Peruvian bullfighting.
Acho 2013, this year’s event, will include five bullfights— one held every Sunday from the end of October until the beginning of December. Some of the world’s most prominent bullfighters will perform, including famed Spanish matadors Julián López (better known as “El Juli”) and David Fandila (“El Fandi”). Bullfighting remains popular in Peru despite global controversy over the practice— the Daily Mail reported recently that 540 bullfights take place in Peru every year.
The debate over bullfighting is always divisive. Some see bullfighting as an art, rather than as a blood sport. Well-known Peruvian matador and Acho 2013 participant Alfonso Simpson (known in the ring as Alfonso de Lima) said in an interview with magazine Ellos & Ellas: “I understand and respect the opinion of people that are against bullfighting. But for me, the fight is an art, let’s not forget that there’s even a book called ‘The Art of War.’”
Others cite tradition as reason for the continued practice of the sport. The roots of bullfighting in the Mediterranean go back thousands of years, and the bull still serves as a symbol of Spanish culture throughout the world. It’s a decadent, colorful spectacle that recalls the historical beauty of a bygone age. Those who perform in the ring are highly trained and for them, their profession as a high form of art, and in the sweep of the cape and the glint of the sword, one can see why.
However, none of those things change the fact that a traditional bullfight ends with the death of the bull. The death is not merciful, either— bullfights have several stages, each one meant to irritate and tire the bull. A bull dies suffering, after having been stuck with sharpened sticks and run around the ring until he is exhausted.
Bulls are extremely powerful animals who could easily kill the matador, and sometimes tragedies like that do occur. But it’s one thing to defend oneself from an attack by an animal, and another to goad that animal into attacking, and then slaying it with a sword.
If you’re interested in attending the fights at Acho 2013, please visit our event page. Events begin on Sunday, Oct. 27, and end on Sunday, Dec. 8. Tickets are available through Teleticket.
What are your opinions, gracious commenters? Are you a devotee of the fine Iberian tradition of the art of bullfighting, or are you an opponent of a vicious blood sport? It seems that in this debate, there’s rarely room for anything in between those two options. This is a debate that’s been raging for years, and has divided even Spain, the sport’s nation of birth. We’d like to know what you think.