"The bullfight is not a sport in the Anglo-Saxon sense of the word, that is, it is not an equal contest or an attempt at an equal contest between a bull and a man. Rather it is a tragedy; the death of the bull, which is played, more or less well, by the bull and by the man involved and in which there is danger for the man but certain death for the animal."
So, I went to my first live corrida in Madrid a few weeks ago, and it was...interesting. It's certainly brutal, particularly because the toreros make it look so easy (see the video below). Having seen footage of what a powerful bull can do to a non-expert, however, makes me appreciate the skill and bravery of the matador. I think bullfighting might make more sense to people who have regular interactions with such animals, and in societies where humanity's dominion over nature is less obvious and secure. Given how quickly and casually (not to mention surreptitiously) we slaughter cattle these days, however, the corrida does seem barbaric.