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Certain cultural traditions provoke outrage. Americans usually find the culinary tastes of some countries inhumane, whether it’s the Japanese eating whales, some Asians slaughtering dogs, or Europeans eating horse meat. With the exception of whaling a species to near extinction, the “scandal” over butchery seems hypocritical. For the American with a displeasure with horse and dog meat, there’s likely a Hindu in India voicing the same concern over our appetite for cows, which the Hindu religion reveres. Leaving aside the culture of food, there’s always the issue of bloodsports involving animals — cock fighting, dog fighting, and bull fighting come to mind. Most of these have some sort of international movement seeking to ban them.

As for bullfighting, that doesn’t change the centuries old tradition it has become in Iberian culture (Both Spanish and Portuguese). Americans usually think of Mexico and Spain when it comes to bullfights, but Portugal engages in it as well, and not just the mainland. And bullfighting is not the same thing all over the world. The Azores island of Terceira, for example:

The bullfighting tradition on Terceira goes back to the 16th century, due to the abundance of cattle at that time over 100,000 head, say the chroniclers – the fact that the first settlers came from provinces where bullfighting was deep-rooted and the later Castilian presence. This is why bullfighting has been practised for centuries in Terceira, the only island where bullfights are now held. It is also why a unique technique has been developed there, one that is perfectly adapted to the local conditions, the skill of the bullfighters and the tastes of the population. We are referring to the always merry and lively “bullfighting on a rope”, in which the movements of the bull are conditioned by a rope held by a group of men, formerly called mascarados da corda (masked men of the rope), The bull, bred on the pastures in the central region of line island and chosen for his ability to follow figures and be cunning, has his horns padded and is then let loose in the streets of the parish, the windows and balconies of which are crowded with people on that day. Fireworks are discharged and men and bull immediately start running about, with steps that are sometimes luckier than others.

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