Unlike Spain, Portugal outlawed the killing of bulls in 1928. Pedrito de Portugal, their most famous matador, seems to really get off killing them. He was recently fined €100,000, or $137,000 for doing so.
"Bullfighting in Portugal is like a play with the ending missing," says the elegant, soft-spoken 32-year-old, whose father was also a bullfighter. "Killing the bull is an art, and the way we do it in Portugal deprives the bull of his dignity."
Pedrito, born in Lisbon as Alexandre Pedro Roque Silva, committed his notorious act in 2001 at a bullfight in Moita, a town south of Lisbon.
The crowd began waving white napkins and chanting, "Kill the bull! Kill the bull!" he recalled in an interview. Eager to satisfy, he pulled out his sword and stabbed the raging half-ton bull in its spinal cord. He received a standing ovation, was hoisted on the crowd's shoulders and paraded through the streets.
Hours later the police detained him and slapped him with a fine, but he was released after crowds of angry fans circled the police station. Amateur video footage showed the bull's ears and tail being cut off in the ring as a reward for his kill.
I wonder if he would feel dignified if someone stuck him with a sword. I can't say the people chanting "kill kill kill" are much better.