Catalonia Declares: No More Bull . . . Fighting

These are halcyon days for sports fans in Spain.

National team in the World Cup. W.

Favorite son Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon. W.

Favorite son Alberto Contador in Tour de France. W.

Cue La marcha real.

Yet all is not copacetic in Catalonia. The provincial legislature has outlawed bullfighting to the death starting in 2011.

Not only is Ernest Hemingway turning over in his grave, but the traditionalists are aghast. This is as if the U.S. Congress declared the NFL a flag football league. Or, MLB being changing the national pastime to slow pitch.

Okay, not exactly. But, in many ways, bullfighting, as odd an endeavor as it may be, is the cultural face of Spain as much as flamenco dancing.

Understand that this ban by the Catalonian legislators is as much political as anything. You think there are separatists north of our border in Quebec, you ain’t seen nothin’ ’til you been to Barcelona. La Rambla is as full of political polemicists as it is mimes who want your turistic money. And don’t forget to pronounce that middle “c” in Barcelona as “th.”

So outlawing this old tradition is another shot across the bow to separate the province from the rest of the country more than an animal rights thing.

Still . . .

All of which allows me to tell of my one bullfight experience. Our hotel in Sevilla during a trip several years back was right around the corner from the bullring, which, if memory serves, somebody said was the oldest in Spain. The night of our arrival was bullfight night.

Getting tickets wasn’t difficult. The sport is in decline. And, even for our unschooled group, it was easy to discern this was the minor leagues. None of the matadors on the six fight card were able to slay their foes by themselves. In each match, the bull would finally wear out, fall to the ground still breathing. At which point, a second to the matador — a banderillero, perhaps, or, maybe a picador — stabbed the bull to death with a dagger that looked like it could cut steel.

Except for one bull the night we were there. This smart beast hadn’t a bit of fight in him. He would have nothing of the pomp, circumstance and ritualistic demise awaiting him. When he wouldn’t engage those who sought to slay him, they brought in the cows with bells on their necks to stir the bull’s ardor.

He’d have none of that either. At which point, most in the crowd laughed. Some shouted barbs, which I’m advised loosely translated as “faggot bull.”

So they trotted off the unwilling participant and replaced him with one more willing to engage in the action.

The bull they removed from the arena to the sound of guffaws, he had the last laugh. He’s grazing on some ranch somewhere. The others became beefsteak at the butcher shop.

– Seedy K

3 Comments

  1. Joseph
    Posted August 19, 2010 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    Why don’t you try a “sport ” that doesn’t involve torturing an animal to death? You are proof that evolution takes millions and millions of years.

  2. Michel Michaeljohn
    Posted April 7, 2011 at 3:13 am | Permalink

    Bullfighting: It’s not ART; it’s not CULTURE; it’s “TORTURE.”
    Bullfighting: The most “indefensible” type of “animal abuse.”
    Bullfighting is not a “fight” at all, but a systematic “torture-killing” that pits a gang of armed thugs wielding “razor-sharp” barbed spikes, spears, swords and daggers (these weapons are designed to “inflict intense pain and cause blood loss” to weaken the animal) against a lone, terrified; confused; “fatally” disabled and wounded animal.

    It’s a “sickening” economic industry based on HORRIFYING victimization; sadistic abuse; extreme cruelty and ‘mutilation and torture” of bulls (and horses) during the cruel exhibitions of “bullfights” (which are barbaric “blood” fiestas): “Close-up Horror of Bullfighting” (Graphic) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xvwQ4Dmlur8

    Handlers “weaken” the bull for days before the bullfight. They starve him and deny him water, or they put laxatives and epsom salts in his food. He is “beaten” with heavy sandbags on his back. They file his horns down to the tender quick to “interfere” with his ability to “navigate”; they blind and drug him; they stuff his ears so that he cannot “hear”; they stuff his nostrils so that he cannot “breath.” In the ring, they drive “razor-sharp” lances and harpoons into his back and neck muscles so he can’t lift his head. By the time the matador appears, the bull is weak from blood loss and dizzy from being chased in circles.

    The horses used in bullfights are old and drugged. Wet newspaper is stuffed in their ears so that they will not “hear” the approaching bull and “run away”; their vocal cords are cut so the audience will not hear their “cries.” They wear long blankets to hide their entrails, which spill out when they are “gored and disemboweled” by the “deceived; tortured; agonizing” bull.

    It’s no fun to see an innocent, crazed animal “tortured” before a screaming crowd of people, who should be hanging their heads in shame. Even if you leave after 15 to 20 minutes, the damage has been done – your money has gone to support this “hellish” business, which “decent” people are working to “end.”

    The continuation of bullfighting depends on “government subsidies” and the IGNORANT “tourist industry.”

    Don’t be an “accomplice” to this “savagery” by supporting it with your “tourist dollars.”

    Please help these “suffering” animals – “STAY AWAY FROM BULLFIGHTS; speak out against them and DEMAND that they be ABOLISHED.”

    Michel Michaeljohn (of Spanish-descent); California; United States.

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