An anti-bullfighting activist in Albufeira in 2019 Photo: CIDADE DE ALBUFEIRA ANTI-TOURADAS/FACEBOOK

Anti-bullfighting group celebrates end of bullfights at Albufeira bullring

Albufeira’s anti-bullfighting group (Cidade de Albufeira Anti-Touradas, or CAAT) is celebrating the end of the “utter cruelty and sadistic acts” that were practised at the bullring “week after week, month after month, year after year in the name of ‘culture’”.

Isabel Searle, one of the group’s founders, told the Resident that she and her fellow protestors are extremely relieved that the new owners of the bullring “will not continue to use it for the torture of innocent defenseless animals”.

Since the group was created in 2013, Searle and like-minded protestors had gathered outside the bullring every time a bullfight was held.

“We protested, megaphone in hand, begging tourists to stay away from this place of torture, trying desperately to warn them that what they would see inside would not be a ‘Portuguese variety show’ where the ‘bull doesn’t get killed’,” she said.

“Instead they would see the blood and agony of animals in excruciating pain, trying to run away in agony and confusion, whilst huge spears were dug mercilessly into their backs,” Searle added.

“It was despairing to see how so many parents ignored our pleas and took little children into this ‘arena of horror’,” Searle lamented, stressing how demonstrators were often victims of violence from bullfighting enthusiasts despite the protection of GNR police forces.

She also targeted the local council for letting the bullfights go ahead for so long.

“Albufeira, a city that promotes tourism, beaches, food, Fado and which is a peaceful town with peaceful people, was forced to have the arena of shame as a landmark,” she told us.

However, now is “finally the time for some peace of mind, some justice and a small feeling of victory.

“In the name of the thousands of bulls, some of them babies, who were tortured and died horrific deaths, in the name of the horses who are forced to charge at them and often got horrifically injured, in the name of the human beings who protested, cried and fought with us, we say ‘obrigado’ (thank you) to the new owners of the Albufeira bullring,” said Searle.

She added: “We hope the other bullrings across the country and world will close down too. It is time for humanity to see the light.”

Bullfight supporters lament closure
Meanwhile, Portuguese bullfighting federation PróToiro has lamented the closure of the bullring.

“In a tourist region like the Algarve, the presence of such a Portuguese and unique cultural activity such as bullfights is of the upmost importance,” the federation said in a statement to the Resident.

It described bullfights as cultural activities that allow visitors to “get to know Portuguese culture and experience something different” and added that it hopes developers will change their mind about the end of bullfights at the bullring, as it believes they would be a source of “attraction for the tourism of Albufeira and the Algarve”.

“There’s a lot of room for growth for bullfighting in the Algarve. We hope to see an increase of bullfights in the Algarve in the coming years in more towns, just like a few years ago when there were bullfights from Lagos to Vila Real de Santo António,” the federation added.