For years, South Korea has been staging spectacles called “fighting bulls” (not to be confused with bullfighting) where two bulls are pitted against each other and the public bets on the winner, but Korean animal protection organisations want them banned. 

Article 8 of the Korean Animal Protection Act states that it is illegal to inflict an injury upon an animal for gambling, advertising, amusement or entertainment, but it sets as exceptions cases specified by the Ordinance of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, such as countryside games. The fighting bulls spectacles held in 11 provinces located across the country are one of such exceptions. 

Animal protection groups in South Korea, like the Korean Animal Welfare Association, held a press release on 13th February 2023 in front of the National Assembly, urging politicians to remove the exception for fighting bulls in the Animal Protection Act. This group said to the Korea Bizwire: “Cows are herbivores that do not fight in the wild. It amounts to animal abuse if humans force them to fight for mere amusement.

These bull-against-bull fights (sometimes called bull wrestling) are organised in Korea, Japan, Peru, and India. In Japan, they call it Tōgyū (ushi-zumo or Bull sumo), and in Peru, where Spanish-style bullfighting also takes place (called Corridas de Toros), bulls fighting is called Peleas de Toros.

Bulls do not normally die in these combats because when one of the bulls retreats the fight should be stopped, and cows on heat are normally used to excite the bulls into “sexual competition.” Nevertheless, these events are not only another form of animal cruelty as the bulls are manipulated into fighting, which can cause them stress, pain, and exhaustion, but also it’s animal exploitation in the form of organised animal fights, which sadly are very common all over the world.  

Jordi Casamitjana
“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.