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jueves, 27 de octubre de 2011

Some Thoughts on Bullfighting

The topic of bullfighting has always greatly irritated me, having always considered a disgusting tradition.

Not that I don´t think that way nowadays, but I definitely see this tradition from a different perspective.  Why so? Last weekend I finished reading The Sun Also Rises, from Ernest Hemingway. It was an entertaining reading that made me think a great deal about this topic. Also, the fact that I have read about the perspective of an expatriate group of American and English (I am an expatriate myself, by the way) made it very interesting. Besides that book, I came across a documentary called FIESTA: to fight or not to fight, which was shown in the last Spanish Documentary Festival of Beijing organized by my old friend Ramón Herrero.

Getting to the point, how have exactly changed my views on bullfighting?

It´s funny, it´s been many years since I last watched bullfighting. The fact that I found it so utterly unacceptable and barbarian made me take my eyes away everything I came across it. But I can actually understand that. I still can´t accept that an animal has to be killed little by little for the sake of an entertainment. I just can´t stand seeing an animal suffering like that. Maybe the fact that I have always had pets (two cats and two dogs, my current one being Dante, who is definitely one of my best friends ever and a fully recognized member of my family) makes my feel that way. However, I have just been watching some scenes of bullfighting and I have found it fascinating. The way a skinny guy (the bullfighter) dances with such a huge and powerful animal in that elegant way deserves my praising.

So far I think my point is very straightforward: while finding bullfighting unacceptable due to my empathy with the bull but I can still appreciate the skill of the bullfighter and thus understand why people feel like watching it.

I could end my entry here, but I would like to go a bit further: should bullfighting be forbidden?

I think it should, and even when admitting the terrible consequences it would have on the already weak Spanish economy (among other things) our society should not allowed an animal to suffer that way, beautiful show as it may be.

I think my opinion on this is entirely correct. However, I have found a very interesting argument by those supporters of bullfighting. I eat meat, and I enjoy eating it a lot (going to Burger King to have a Whopper has made me the happiest guy in the world since I can remember). So, what do we know about the meat industry? Aren´t the animal conditions bad enough so that I should give up my habit of eating meat? The analogy is not entirely valid, since it would be much harder for me to stop eating meat (since it would affect very much my daily life) than for a bullfighting fan to stop attending bullfights. Plus, the eating of meat should not be synonymous of animal suffering, although I admit probably most times is.

Another argument often used by the bullfight supporters is that bullfighting is an essential part of Spanish and European culture, and in order to preserve our traditions we should not get rid of it.

About this I have a stronger opinion. Traditions should be recorded, but not always preserved. There are some good and some terrible traditions, and the fact that both are an important part of our culture doesn´t mean we have to go on with them. Rather, they should be banished and recorded so that future generations should know about them. Just like Nazism: it should be always taught in school as an important part of European culture, but that doesn´t mean we should encourage the Nazi ideology to be part of our daily lives. Just like we shouldn´t allow the celebration of a tradition that implies torturing an animal to death.

I know, some people will probably think the death of human beings can´t be compared with the death of animals. Well, as I said before I consider my dog, Dante, one of my very best friends, and there are very few dogs I dislike, whereas I can´t say the same about people, so I don´t think I agree with that statement, J