Some time ago I wrote an article on my thoughts about bullfighting, suffice it is to say I’m no fan. However, when Matador Victor Barrio was killed by a bull in the ring this July in Teruel (the first to meet this horrible end in the ring since 1985) I was appalled by many of the reactions to the news.
Facebook (including our own Facebook page) especially lit up with vehement and hateful comments. It’s hard to argue that bullfighting is not a ghastly and inhumane ‘sport’. It’s not just we Northern European immigrants who think so either. Earlier this year an online poll found that 19 per cent of adults in Spain aged 16-65 said they supported bullfighting, compared to 58 per cent who opposed it. Yes it’s wrong to the vast majority of us, of all nationalities, who live in Spain.
Bullfighting will inevitably come to an end at some point. But not for some time. Why? Forget the cultural arguments: it’s an industry, a huge machine that generates incomes for thousands. Stopping it overnight is not unlike trying to close down the Mafia in Naples. It’s going to take the persistence of the young in Spain to force a cultural shift in thinking, and the real problem is that it needs a political will from government. The government being the toughest nut to crack.
Goading, gloating and boasting via Facebook posts from ‘disgruntled in Costa del Somewhere’ changes nothing. Comments like “Bull 1 – Matador 0”, “My heart goes out to the bull”, “Karma is a bitch”, and “The b*****d deserved it” are nothing more than trolling. Is that one post going to change the world? No it isn’t.
Arguments for and against bullfighting set aside, Victor Barrio was someone’s husband, brother and son. Whatever his life choices, his family deserves to be able to mourn in peace. Baying for the blood of the Matador from outside the arena is no better than baying for the blood of the bull inside of the bull ring.
Respect for animal and human life is not mutually exclusive! If it were, most animal lovers might not turn out any better than the ALF people who once thought bombing humans the answer to animal mistreatment.
If those who see fit to troll put more energy into actually doing something proactive about bullfighting instead of spending their time as armchair warriors things might change a little faster.
Don’t troll. Join PETA or Anima Naturalis or any other anti-bullfighting organisation in Spain and help campaign. Find out where protests are happening and join your Spanish neighbours. Do something constructive instead of making snide comments that achieve nothing.