I was in Spain a few years ago and I went to see a bullfight. I'd never seen one before and I was keen to see the underdog win. The first thing that disturbed me was how everyone was cheering for the matador. I filmed a couple minutes as the bull charged the horse (who had no beef with the bull but the bull didn't understand why it was being stabbed to death). Then we left as we didn't understand why it was being stabbed to death either. It's just a gorefest. I put the video on YouTube where it has a couple hundred thousand views and yesterday someone asked a question that gave me pause. It did strike me as strange that the horse was so quiet so I looked into it.
Explanation taken from catcahelpanimals.org:
The horses used in the bullfights are old ones sold for few coins to the bullfighters. Their vocal cords are mutilated without any anaesthetic so they cannot neigh in fear, especially after been stabbed by the bull horns. This is so that the audience is not aware that the animals are suffering.
When the bullfight is going to start, the horse is mute, blindfolded with vaseline and cotton in their ears and nose holes; without it's senses. The horse's back is covered by a peto (sort of thin blanket) and ridden by the "picador" (the man with the "puya'). The whole puya gets inserted 3 to 4 times into the bull's back and moved in circles, so the bulls gets 3 or 4 wounds, 14 cms deep and up to 45 cms of diameter.
As the bull tries to defend itself, it strikes only to penetrate (with its horns) the horse's neck or stomach. If the horse doesn't die, it is taken into the plaza, where its insides are inserted back into its stomach with hay then sewn with rope or wire without any anaesthetic, painkillers or antibiotics.
The horse is then sent back into the bullring to be ridden again until it drops dead. If by the end of the day the horse is still alive, it is slaughtered by the butcher behind the bullring and its meat is sold as dog food. Sometimes, up to 6 horses have been killed by one single bull.
The most numbers of horses killed by a single bull, happened few decades ago, and 11 horses laid slowly dying on the bloody arena.
After the picador is finished with it's "puya", then come the "banderillero" who carries the dreadful "banderillas''. These ones are stuck in the bull's neck and back muscles to weaken. Each bull gets between four to six banderillas. With each movement the harpoon rips off the muscles making it extremely painful.
After the banderillero finish his business comes the coward "matador", who exhausts the bull with a red cape. When the bull gets too weak the matador gets the sword and attempts to stab the bull through its heart. But many times they fail and get the lungs instead, so the bull starts to vomit blood. When this happens, the matador gets a small knife (puntilla), and stabs the bull through it's spinal cord (and continues until the bull falls).
But many times the bull doesn't die after the 40 to 45 minutes of torture in the bullring; because the puntilla often doesn't kill but just paralyses the bull. So later on when the bull is getting his skin ripped off by the butcher, he suddenly "awakens" and tries to run away.
In Spain alone, more than 30,000 bulls are killed this way every year.
This is a sadistic business maintained by a handful of powerful people in all these countries, but you can make the difference by not attending this barbaric spectacles and not buying their souvenirs and magazines.People are disgusting.