“Bloodless” bullfighting in Denver this weekend
Bullfighting is coming to Denver on Saturday, with all the pomp and circumstance usually seen in arenas in Spain, Portugal and Mexico.
Matadors and bulls will take over the National Western Complex, but the experience will be missing one key component: blood.
Coined “The Dance,” the bullfights will be “bloodless” — a technique that replaces the bullfighters’ knives with Velcro sticks and places Velcro squares on the bulls’ backs.
Unlike a typical bullfight, both bull and matador are meant to emerge alive from the scuffle.
Event organizers say the show will celebrate cultural traditions, but animal activists say the idea of “humane bullfighting” is an oxymoron.
“You really can’t say that it’s a cruelty-free sport, because they’re torturing the bull and exploiting it for entertainment purposes,” said Lori Greenstone, a board member of the animal rights advocacy group Colorado Voters for Animals. “The only thing they’re not doing is killing it in front of the public like in regular bullfighting.”
Organizers from White Eagle Promotions, the company putting on the event, insist it is cruelty-free, and an important mode of cultural exchange.
“The spectacle remains the same, and the danger is still there not for the bulls, actually, but for the humans,” said Mario Alvarez, general manager of the company putting on the show.
“These bulls are going to be full of energy, and that can potentially harm the humans that are doing the dance.”
“The Dance” is the brainchild of Joe Fernandez, a Colorado native who lives in Turlock, Calif.
Fernandez got hooked on bloodless bullfighting himself when he moved to California more than 25 years ago. Fernandez wanted to bring bullfighting to Denver.
“Being a Latino, I’m political also. I just think that right now there’s a lot of things going on in politics with immigrants and building a wall,” Fernandez said. “I think it’s a time to step forward and promote Latin culture and how beautiful it is.”