Friday, August 31, 2012

Turning Fiction Into Fact--The " Modus Operandi" Of The Animal Right's Movement

Photograph above show's the moment torero Alvaro Munera became an opponent of bullfights.  FALSE!!!!  He became an "opponent" and paid shill, not unlike unemployed, out of work elephant activist Tom Rider, after his lunch was handed to him by a bull named Terciopelo.


The first photo has been doing the rounds on the internet with claims it is Álvaro Múnera Builes, a Colombian animal rights activist who worked briefly as a bullfighter in his youth under the name ‘El Pilarico’ in Colombia and then Spain. With the image come the words, also claiming to be from Múnera.
"And suddenly, I looked at the bull. He had this innocence that all animals have in their eyes, and he looked at me with this pleading. It was like a cry for justice, deep down inside of me. I describe it as being like a prayer – because if one confesses, it is hoped, that one is forgiven. I felt like the worst shit on earth."

In fact, not only is this not true, it could not be true, not least because the matador in the photo is actually Francisco Javier Sánchez Vara.  While the words come from an article by the author and melodramatist Antonio Gala Velasco in the Spanish newspaper El País in 1995.  Munera was only a novillero.  A novillero is a novice bullfighter. Múnera never even became a matador, let alone a famous one.

However, the most compelling reason that photo can have had nothing to do with Múnera is that he did not leave bullfighting because of some conversion in the bullring; quite the reverse. It was the bull that made him leave.
In 1984 a bull called ‘Terciopelo’, from the breed of Marqués de Villagodio, caught him in the foot and tossed him across the ring, fracturing the fifth cervical vertebrae in his neck - along with other injuries – which rendered him permanently paraplegic.
It was only later after he had been transferred from hospital in Spain to a recuperative facility in Miami to be closer to his relatives in Colombia that he developed a ‘moral’ problem with bullfighting. According to his own account, it was the doctors, nurses, other patients and their families treating him with contempt because of his bullfighting past which caused the change. In his own words, he converted to their point of view because “there are more of them, they must be right.”
Whatever you think of this as a reason for a complete ethical about-turn, it is clear that it was not the behaviour of a bull while dying that caused this man to end his run of 150 bulls killed.

So, what is the actual matador, Sánchez Vara, doing in the photo? Well, he might be crossing himself or he might be wiping away a bead of sweat, but whatever he is doing, the reason he is sitting down in the path a dying bull as it walks along the barrier has nothing to do with despair. Which is why you can see the situation exactly replicated, in the second picture above, by the matador Sebastian Castella.

Sitting on the ‘strip’ around the ring after the sword has been placed in the bull is a known desplante, or act of defiance, within the part-scripted, part-improvised spectacle that is the corrida de toros. Whatever the corrida is, it is certainly not a fight (the English word bull-fight derives from our foul old pasttime of baiting bulls with dogs), and the concept of fairness or sport no more enters into the corrida than it does the slaughterhouse.
Which is why the man in this photo is still working as a matador across Spain, indeed, if you can read Spanish, you can read about an afternoon in April when he killed six bulls on his own here.

Whatever you feel about bullfighting, there is no excuse for dishonesty – from either side of the debate.

What makes the book work is that he never loses his disgust for it. Daily Mail
It’s to Fiske-Harrison’s credit that he never gets over his moral qualms about bullfighting. Financial Times
Uneasy ethical dilemmas abound, not least the recurring question of how much suffering the animals are put through. Sunday Telegraph
RT @fiskeharrison: is in love with running the bulls of Cuéllar. And with the Hotel Mesón San Francisco: its location, its feeling and i ...

'Different opinions,  INTO THE ARENA by Alexander  Fiske-Harrison is a fabulous book.  Fabulous because even given his distaste for bull fighting, he presented all the fact's fairly, and without bias, so that intelligent people can make their own decision about the sport based on fact's.  The book should be the "gold standard" for fair, unbiased journalism.  Oddly, My Fisk-Harrison loves and enjoys the running of the bulls, while I love bull fighting, yet find the running of the bulls distasteful, inhumane and cruel.  Don't think for a moment that those bull's running through the street's slipping and sliding, as drunken collage students as well as residents attempt to stay ahead of them and out of harms way of their horns, are not scared and
suffering.  How much fear and suffering, is as speculative as the fear and suffering felt by a fighting bull in the last 15 minutes of his life, before he becomes a rib eye.  There in lies the the difference between the two spectacles.  First and foremost, accept that a bull is an agricultural animal.  He is born to be eaten.  A fighting bull fights once, for 15 minutes, and is given the opportunity to prove his worth, and possibly retire as a herd sire, if he is worthy.  A beef bull is chosen for it's weight gain, loaded in a truck, sent to the slaughter house, know questions asked, none given, whacked and turned into a rib eye.  How many times is a "running bull" put into a situation of fear and suffering, yes, they do, slipping, sliding, falling in the street, in his lifetime before he is killed and turned into a rib eye?  One 15 minute shot at possible redemption and survival, or sent to the slaughterhouse unceremoniously, or ran thorough the streets once a year, chasing drunken people, for a number of years before becoming rib eye?'

To borrow a quote from Forrest Gump, "That's all I have to say about that!!!!!!"

Encastes Bravos

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Anonymous said...

Thanks for the nice remarks. However, the encierros, or bull-runs, only ever have the bulls run once - from the corrals to the ring, where they are housed until the corrida, or bullfight, that night. However, there are village festivals where bulls are used again and again in the streets, and this is called a capea. In terms of the bulls suffering, I don't know, however, I do know the appearance of one eleven year old bull, Ratón, or Mouse, is a fortune. Why? He has killed three people already.

Wade G. Burck said...

My remarks were sincere as you have authored an remarkably impartial book. Rare in this day of "I hate it/I love it" animal rights. You either get venom or you get kool-aid. The book was recommend to me by a friend in South Africa, who also trains animals, and is as concerned for animal welfare as I am. As I am currently in Mexico, I had a tough time getting it. I wasn't disappointed when it arrived. I am thinking even Hemingway would be impressed.
I have been an animal trainer for close to 37 years, and have a pretty good idea of suffering. How much suffering depends on the situation the animal is in, or "perceives it's self to be in." An animal trainers job is to eliminate that situation a quickly as possible, through calm positive reinforcement. I have seen animals hurt themselves attempting to flee from a "perceived danger", that was actually harmless, and do more physical damage to their body, then the "perceived danger" ever could. I've seen a horse break it's leg running into a wall in an attempt to get away from a flapping plastic bag. The other animal emotion that plays havoc is anger. A very aggressive, angry animal will go after another animal with unbelievable savagery, and give and take a great beating, yet whine like a baby if it runs into something in play. I think the fighting mentality bred into the bulls, combined with the situation at hand of defending it's self eliminate much of what humans "perceive" as suffering. I also know the most frightful situation an animal can be in, is to be chased, and that is what I see in a running of the bulls scenario.
I have read about "Raton." You have done such a great job of explaining a corrida, possibly you could help me understand a society that reveres a bull that has killed many people, yet hates a man that has killed many bulls?

Wade Burck

Anonymous said...

my greetingsand to thank you for all the bull info and wonerfulpic i hope you got to to a corrida, clean raul