A noble death?

August 27, 2008
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One piece in our latest issue that's sure to provoke debate is Alexander Fiske-Harrison's account of contemporary bullfighting in Spain. It's a topic close to the author's heart, and he eloquently defends the modern spectacle of the bull-ring as an art form while acknowledging the moral compromises inherent in a festival that has slaughter at its heart.

As Fiske-Harrison has explored in his previous postings on this blog, what it means to behave "well" towards animals is a very different business to what it means to behave well towards other people. Given, however, that our behaviour towards animals does not simply exist in an ethical vacuum, most modern societies find themselves in a peculiar position: horrified by bull-fights or fox hunts, yet economically predicated on the industrial rearing and slaughter of many millions of animals.

Can such contradictions be reconciled? Can we justify our pleasure in either the spectacle of a bullfight or the savour of a steak dinner? As ever, let us know your thoughts below.