So, you've heard about the bullfighting in Spain, right? And the debates questioning how the law can condone harming an animal for peoples entertainment?
Animal welfare groups have celebrated when the practice of bullfighting has been banned in certain areas. But in China, the practice is seemingly simply varied. the Chinese variant of bullfighting doesn’t involve swords or gore like it’s Spanish counterpart, but instead is a combination of wrestling and kung fu to bring down the animals involved.
Typically, a fighter approaches the bull head-on, grabs its horns and twists, turning its head until the bull topples over.
Animal rights activists believe Chinese bullfighting is still painful for the animals and cruel as a form of entertainment.
Consider this practice through the eyes of the law.
The first part of the animal welfare test Western countries that have adopted contemporary welfare legislation, queries if the animal experiences pain or distress. “In Chinese bullfighting, we cannot deny the bulls experience pain,” said Layli Li, a spokeswoman for animal welfare group PETA. “As long as it exists, that means there is suffering.”
If the law decides that if the animal is indeed experiencing pain or distress, then part two of the legal test of animal welfare questions if the pain or distress is either necessary or reasonable. This is where many of the debates about modern practices occur, including the use of animals for entertainment in activities such as bullfighting.
The question is, is it reasonable or necessary for animals to be harmed, or even put at risk of harm, for the purposes of entertaining people?
And if the law went so far as to recognise and protect a sentient animal's positive experiences of comfort, interest, and opportunities for pleasure, then how much longer would activities like bullfighting continue?
This evolved position regarding people’s responsibilities concerning each animal’s positive life experience, is not just a shortcoming in the eyes of animal activists, involving China, however. Even countries that hold themselves out world leaders in animal welfare, struggle with conflicts associated with elevating standards of animal care. New Zealand, for example, recognised animals in its primary welfare legislation as far back as 2015, but the New Zealand government quickly went on record as stating that the recognition was “merely symbolic”.