the other shoe's other shoe
myself, i think it is grace from providence that we enjoy the luxury of such opinions.
domesticating cattle was an important achievement for the survival of our species in much of the world where grasslands exist. grasslands, if you think about them, exist specifically because weather and agriculture conditions can't support higher levels of plant species, (fruit trees, berry bushes, legume and other vegetable plants, etc.), and between the absence of such, and the implicit shortage of water and other nutrients to be put back into the soil to grow more sustaining crops even if they wanted to, our ancestors were put in a dire position that most of us now would shudder to contemplate.
yet cattle could turn grass into high-quality protein and high-energy fat, and yield bone and sinew for tools and other necessities, and produce hide for weatherproof clothing and shelter.
we know now that there are more efficient ways to produce all of these things, but if you lived where there were no trees and no otherwise arable soil, you and your small clan of desperate-to-survive relatives would be damn grateful to have a cow to milk, and a steer to eat. so it is that the practice of dairy farming has been passed down through the generations, and continued in places, like the rugged hills of vermont, where other types of agriculture are difficult if not impossible to maintain. and you can kiss my ass if you want to imply that there's something unethical about the origins and maintenance of the practice. yup, many not blessed with the genetic bequest of lactose tolerance have their own legitimate objection, but those of us born of a long line of dairy farmers, or from peoples inclusive of the same, would be pretty hypocritical to diss the legacy.
as for bullfighting, if you bother to research what you might otherwise correctly recognize as a barbaric practice, you'll find that the peoples of spain, where sere geography and brutal climate put the edge so much closer to their historic survival than many of us would be able to sleep at night to contemplate, were arguably even more ethical and respectful of the agents of their livelihoods than even we who abhor the practice today.
the choices were brutal. there was not enough feed to support both the milk-yielding cows, as well as their meat-producing brethren, (save those necessary for stud), so the necessity was to butcher the males, period. but being so close to these animals, and emotionally attached to them as well, it proved impossible for these decidedly moral people to sacrifice these noble animals without recognition, ceremony, and chance for survival.
so, yes, a brutal practice was created, that gave each bull its moment to earn its keep. yes, almost all were butchered, as they would have been for the survival of the human species in any case. but those fewer whose spirits earned them the recognition were revered and their ears and tails preserved to remember them, and those fewer still who fought longest and hardest to survive were spared, and chosen for stud, and held in the highest possible regard--heights which nigh-on approached religious reverence.
if you go to andalusia in southern spain, you will find the image of the bull on almost everything from one end of the countryside to the other. these are not the tokens of a people who were grown from senseless slaughter and a lack of appreciation for the agencies of their survival. yes, today, there is no need nor place for the practice, except, i would posit, as a respected memory in genuflection to our roots and our debts to our ancestors who gave everything, and did everything they could, to maintain our place in this world.
people who reflexively and without regard criticize both are, to my mind, the ones lacking in moral insight. and i'm raising this glass of shaw farms' finest to those who see more clearly.