How is American bullfighting still legal?

The legal status of bullfighting varies from country to country in North and South America.

In the United States, the sport is not banned outright, but only a so-called bloodless form of bullfighting is allowed.

This version has become most popular in Texas and California, and unlike a traditional Spanish corrida, it does not end with killing the bull.

Two main versions of North American bullfighting exist.

The first is called freestyle, which is a type of bullfighting that was developed by rodeo clowns as they worked to protect bull riders. 

In this kind of fight, the bull is not provoked; instead, the fighter/clown uses a barrel to dodge a charging bull. 

This is a formally recognized sport organized by the WBC and the Dickies National Bullfighting Championship.

The second type of American bullfighting is native to California, where it was born in the heart of the Portuguese immigrant community. 

California instituted a ban on bullfighting in 1957, but later amended the law to permit a form of bloodless bullfighting under pressure from the Portuguese-American community.

This type of bloodless bullfighting looks more like a traditional corrida, but the animal is not actually injured. 

The bull is not killed, and instead of being stuck with lances, it has velcro patches on its shoulders, and the bullfighter throws velcro-tipped lances at those patches.

Despite causing no injury to the bull, this practice does involve intentionally irritating and provoking the animal, and there are many people in California (and elsewhere) who feel that this form of the sport should also be banned.