Being a Vegan in Spain: From Cuisine to Bullfighting

“Vegan?!? I think you’re in the wrong country!”
-One of the many comments I have received whilst being here.

I have been vegan for over 3 years now. It is a choice that I make every day, but now it seems second nature for me.  People told me I would need to “relax” while I was abroad. Vegan abroad? Challenge accepted.

Was it hard? Not really. I was lucky, though, with my incredible host mom who accommodated my dietary needs. I loved the lentils, bread, ciruelas, soup, croquetas veganas, and the occasional treat of tofu, hummus, and chocolate sorbet. (Okay, more than occasional haha.) A couple difficult situations arose at restaurants without many options, but I always tried to stay positive despite my meal being a bland salad and potatoes. In these cases, there were always restaurants with vegan options nearby, but I chose to go with the flow and be with my friends because meals out are more social for me than anything. 

Another thing that I was more closely exposed to in Sevilla was the mistreatment of animals, specifically of the bulls. In the United States, our abuse of animals is hidden, and we have a kind of cognitive dissonance. Our meat is cleanly packaged in a nice supermarket with cute pictures of cows on spacious farms without anyone consciously processing what happened in the slaughterhouse before that. In Spain, their culture is more upfront about this reality, which has forced me to remember why I am vegan. 

For example, tauromaquia, or bullfighting is still common in Spain, at least in the region of Andalucia. I know that bullfighting is part of the culture and tradition of Spain, BUT every culture has its negative aspects. Cruelty should not continue for the sake of tradition. Many Spainairds whom I have discussed this with would agree with me. 

The bullfights consist of several bulls and matadors. Each bull is riled up in order for there to be more of a show. Consequently, the bull is a threat to itself and to the matador. At the end of the fight, the bull can be pardoned from death, but most likely it will suffer a grueling death of at least 20-30 minutes. This process is repeated for each bull. I had some friends that had to leave after watching the 3rd (out of 6) bulls being murdered…

This is an example of animal cruelty that I experienced abroad. I know this is uncomfortable to read. It is uncomfortable for me as well to write. I do not like to talk about it. But, we should know the reality of the situation. 

Avery Lorio is a student at Samford University and an ISA featured blogger. She studied with ISA in Seville, Spain.

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