Torturing bulls: an official course in Spain

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Torturing bulls: an official course in Spain

More governmental support for the torturing of animals.

That is our beloved politicians’ latest idea of how to encourage the preservation of cultural traditions in our country: to create a vocational training course on “tauromachy and auxiliary stockbreeder activities”.

Ordinarily, this would be the moment in which you would all shake your heads and dismiss the idea as a prank by someone wishing to create controversy. I am very sorry to tell you that it is completely veridical. As for myself, I am hardly unbiased on this matter, but I will try to assess this article from both points of view so as to allow you a glimpse into the grander picture.

Bullfighting is a tradition that dates back to the Bronze Age, and has been carried on enthusiastically by countless generations in Spain, Portugal, the south of France and various countries in South America (as a remnant of the Spanish colonisation of the continent).  Apart from the actual killing of the bulls, it also includes the whole development prior to the spectacle, that is, the breeding of the animals, the design of the bullfighter’s clothes and the publication of posters or other forms of advertising the event.

The bullfighter’s technique is especially relevant, as is the grace with which they move, exhort the bull to chase after the red cloth and finally stab it. There are usually at least three people on the ring: the “picador”, who rides a horse and is in charge of thrusting a spear with a metallic point in order to prompt the tearing of the tissues; the “banderillero”, who pierces the muscles with at least a couple of banderillas; and the proper bullfighter, who provokes the bull and has the responsibility of killing it with a swing of the sword. However, due to the incompetence of many, they fail to kill it the first time, prolonging the animal’s agony, and have to hit it a second time on the neck to finish it off.

Bullfighting is a much acclaimed pastime, and so, the government has decided to offer a tauromachy course consisting of twelve modules and two thousand hours of tutoring in an attempt to reduce the unemployment rates among young people and to promote an activity that has been recognised as part of our cultural heritage. It would consist of general subjects such as Mathematics, Spanish Language and English and specific bull-fighting contents, also related to the breeding of the bulls.

I apologise for not having been able to keep the sarcasm off my voice. Don’t get me wrong: the fact that bullfighting has been a very important tradition in the Spanish culture is undeniable and I do not intend for it to be erased from the history books, or for everyone to condemn it.

However, it must be noted that we no longer live in the Middle Ages (most of us, at least). Our society has evolved, and although I believe that the preservation of cultural manifestations is vital, I also reckon that, in order to survive, they, too, must change. Instead of a means of animal torture, the basis of bullfighting could be innovated and adapted to the principles of our time, so as to create a similar tradition to replace this obsolete one. This way, bullfighting supporters would still be able to carry on enjoying this “art”, but in a slightly different way, one that does not include the torment and murder of animals just for sport. For those who would argue that then it would not be the same… well, that is exactly my point.

Now, bullfighting supporters sometimes claim that its detractors are intolerant people. That much, perhaps I can concede. I oppose tauromachy for the same reason I abhor cubs and kittens being burned alive in China: animal torture and mistreatment is intolerable. It is appalling that nowadays there are still people who don’t realise that.

Moreover, there might be institutions where this new educational initiative will be financed with public funding. When I first learned about the course I found it rather unreasonable (I’m being diplomatic in there), but the notion that my parent’s taxes might be used to back it is downright outrageous.

Summing up, bullfighter supporter or not, it all narrows down to a simple question: how far would you describe yourself as a compassionate person?

 

Raquel Alemán Cruz (16)

Las Palmas of Gran Canaria

 

Editor’s Note :

 

It’s quite uncommon for this editor to express personal opinions online but this topic really touches me, it’s incredible that in this point of human development there are still barbaric activities with animals like bullfighting and even worse when this activity is not only consented by governments but also promoted. I agree totally with Raquel’s point of view in this article and are glad that our younger generation is  really conscientious of how barbaric the activity is.

 

Keith Appleby

Chief Editor of the Canary Express