Still Fighting the 200 Year Old War… Winning the Battles

An OPINION article in El Pais recently brought our attention to the fact that although the war against bull fighting goes on, the battles which actually started more years ago that you may realise, are slowly being won. 

Two hundred years ago, not only the bulls, but also the horses were put through tortuous atrocities. That was the story told by Robert Hughes in his book Goya, which devotes several pages to the fight against bullfighting as part of a modernising war that only the enlightened tried – unsuccessfully – to wage in Spain.

In some aspects, people have evolved. The horses no longer die but pro-bullfighting people are outraged by the criticism they receive, althugh they know – or should know – that throughout history various political figures and movements did oppose bullfighting. Indeed, Carlos III, a king who introduced some good things to Spain, tried to ban the bulls in 1771. Carlos IV did too. In an act of brazen populism, King Joseph I Bonaparte, however, celebrated his coronation with a bullfight. It seemed that the formula worked well for the Romans, and the “Enlightened” could not banish it.

But….two centuries have not completely cured the savagery, backwardness or extravagance that  comes with enjoying a “fiesta”.

Other things are happening in Spain besides the independence referendum in Catalonia. One of those things was the recent release  of the documentary Tauromaquia, from Jaime Alekos, and presented by PACMA, a Spanish animal rights group. He recorded actual images of bullfights from the bull’s point of view, including the animal’s terror, trembling, feces, and all the other symptoms of humiliation of torturing experiences. It provokes compassion, without the typical “epic and brave” interpretations of bullfights.

It may take decades for our grandchildren to be horrified by the Spain of the documentary ‘Tauromaquia’

Spain is progressing though…. little by little in many matters,  even when it comes to the abuse of animals. The beheadings of hens and ducks, and the throwing of goats from a bell tower, seem to have finally been consigned to the history books.

Bullfighting has now been banned in some places, although the issue still remains in court. This summer authorities in the Balearic Islands prohibited the death of the animal at the event, as is the case in Portugal. 

Progress is sadly gradual. It may take decades for our grandchildren to be horrified by the Spain of the documentary Tauromaquia, just as we are horrified today by the Spain of Goya or Buñuel.

But it will come.

How the Spanish Banksy used Picasso in unique protest against bullfighting

Cover Photo: El monstruo de la guerra fue retratado en 1937 y Guernica es sólo uno de sus nombres, le gusta pastar donde hay inocentes y desarmados. Tauromaquia de cobardes. 
Reverencia a #picasso