Wednesday, 16 August 2017

The prejudices of being anti-bullfighting

Question: What is the role of animals in our lives? 

Instruction: Be very honest. 

Answer 1: The overall majority of animals we ever meet is on our plate: meat

That means: to be grown as crop and having no life whatsoever. 

No space, forget about natural conditions, forget about 'standing a chance'. Between 1 and 24 months they feel and smell death coming - and then they are killed 'humanely'. For the pleasure of our taste buds. 

Answer 2: Of the second largest group we are only vaguely aware: 'nature'

Day after day biologists warn us of the annihilation of billions over the past decades, and the mass extinction having started. Anywhere over the western world wildlife is under enormous stress of our lifestyle (transport, noise, radiation). Every time we take an airplane we put a dagger in some bird somewhere. For the pleasure of our city-tripping or to have mobile phone reception in the underground parking. 

Actually we really dislike animals. Bees annoy us, trees must be taken away for our views, and a tranquil country road is perfect for motorbiking. Bar our personal pet, the well being of animals is hardly ever on our radar. 

Because: we don't have to see them, we don't have to know. We are fully disconnected from their lives. 

So, then you stumble over a bull farm in Andalusia...

and you stumble in with all your prejudices and instant-judging, all your lack of background and all your refusal to even educate yourself a tiny bit. 

And then you see an animal that lives a minimum of 4-6 years, sometimes up to 25 years, in semi-wild conditions, in group as this species needs to be, on 10,000 square meter per bull or cow. 

And then you start to hesitate. For if it would not be there in that bull farm, it would be meat - or get extinct

Very factual and dry
This is what we are rooting for when we are rooting for abolishing the corrida:
the abolishment of seeing cruelty. 

I don't know about you, but me and the zoos I know don't have the enormous money, space, dedication to keep the gregarious toro bravo of 700 kg. We are rooting for its extinction or curve towards a meat producing animal.

We prefer a short and invisible no-life that ends 'humanely', over a humane life that ends 'cruelly'. 

The prejudice of 'cruelty'

For a prejudice it is: instant rejection without studying or investigating

We do not see farmers at work, we do not study a millennium old tradition and how it was forever fine-tuned, we do not read Emperor Hadrian, Hemingway, Orson Welles, Vargas Llosa, to name just a few great men who were attracted to the nobility of the corrida. 

We have already made up our minds; it's not noble, and we don't want to hear anything about it, for it's clear, it's not noble, we already know!!  

We see a sword in a needle, we see torture in something that is meant to reduce blood pressure.

Do you really think Hemingway would be fascinated by anything... ignoble?
Hemingway, the pope of courage and masculinity?
How horrified he would have been to be associated by something that is NOT fair?  

The prejudice of 'entertainment'

This is perhaps the most saddening sign of our times. 

Going to a mosque is not entertainment, a procession is not entertainment, and a bullfight is definitely not entertainment. 

But there too, we have already made up our mind - and it tells more about us and our modern society, then about the bullfight: 

'Fun' and 'entertainment' seem to have become the only possible reasons for people coming together. We are evolving towards a society without further heart or soul or duende or religious experience; everything is and there fore must be entertainment.  

The prejudice of 'barbaric' bullfighters

I have seen no understanding for animals, their needs and character, as the triangle between farmers, their horses and their cattle. 

They grow up together. 
You only need to see the massive respect and fascination of a farmer looking into the black eye of a bull, to know that we city-people and suburbanites, by now fully disconnected from nature or farming, maybe, maybe, possibly, who knows, are just not getting it.

We stumble over images of a bloody 'spectacle', without any preparation, explanation, background, reading on the history and how it evolved - a sheer guarantee for shock or disgust. 

Just as we push away any thought about where our meat comes from, or don't want to think about the implications of our own transport, internet use, oil and concrete addiction - we judge and condemn him. 

We have our own pet - "there, you see, I'm an animal lover"! 

The fight in the mind

It's too soon for me to say I'm pro-bullfight. 
After all, I did not grow up in it either, and

My mind finds it a very difficult topic and debate - to which it actually can't know a right answer. 

I can see that a bull has a 500 kg weight advantage, can outrun anyone and can turn on a tad faster than any man. I can see that anything in its evolution was directed at fighting, and that it will not stop until it has you no longer moving. He will not withdraw, not refuse to fight, not go stand in a corner - he wants the adversary dead

On the other hand, the toreador has got the advance knowledge that this bull will go for the thing that moves. 

The bull can learn during the fight (that it's the man who is the adversary, not the cloth, for it's a clever animal. But it's the only thing that the toreador has got. He does not protect himself in any other way - he dresses lighter than you and we would when going for a walk in the park (ballet shoes! silk!). And he does not know the specific bull: in the arena they see each other for the first time. 

He knows that his life might not be a long one - and possibly be among the very few people on earth who know when they will die: at 5 o'clock in the afternoon

He is cowardly nor cruel. 
In fact, should he not eat meat, and live a lifestyle that does not affect nature too much - he might be the person who understands animals best. 

I can talk ad infinitum about this topic... let's leave it at this right now - with this our minds have already enough on their plate, no? 


Thank you to ReservaTauro in Ronda, the only ranch in Spain that I know that allows visitors. I can recommend a visit to anyone - pro and anti alike. It's a first step towards learning at least a bit about a tradition from Phoenicians and Romans alike. 


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