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Tuesday November 3, 2009

Red Rag to a Bull? Bullfighting: it's just not cricket.

These days I’m a bit of a bulldog when it comes to bullfights.

Spanish friends have tried valiantly, over the years, to convince me that the corrida, the bullfight, is an event of historic, aesthetic, religious and cultural significance but for me it is nothing more than an outmoded and voyeuristic blood sport.

I’ve read Lorca’s Lament for Ignacio Sánchez Medíjas with the best of them. It may be one of the most beautiful and poignant poems on the planet but there’s no escaping it. Why did bullfighter, Ignacio, go into the bullring in the first place if he didn’t accept the risks? And what of the bull? Did anyone share a tear for its passing?

Indeed, it would take a cold heart not to have shed a tear for Lydia the bullfighter in Almodavar’s film, Talk to Her, when, badly gored during a bullfight, she slips in to a coma and dies. And yet there I was staring at the big screen, dry eyed, once again rooting for the bull. She chose to gamble with her life, the poor bull did not.

What I fail to understand is why killing a defenseless creature, often drugged before entering the ring, is regarded as a masterly achievement. It can hardly be called cricket for a creature to have to defend itself against a pack of machos with weapons prancing around in gaudy costumes, more appropriate to a Halloween party.

Interestingly very few Majorcan friends have any interest in the sport and many find it abhorrent. According to a recognised survey, 72 per cent of Spaniards expressed no interest in bullfighting and only seven percent admitted relishing the sport.

So why, I want to know, should thousands of innocent bulls die every year in Spain for such a piffling minority? Isn’t it time the Spanish government took the bull by the horns and exercised an all out ban?

source: Majorcan Pearls.

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