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Sometime El Toro he win.
June 2, 2010 9:22 PM   Subscribe

WARNING: What follows is extremely graphic, read the description before clicking.
In the once widely popular and always widely hated sport of bullfighting everything is stacked against the bull. The matador doesn't even enter the ring until the bull is exhausted, badly wounded and near death. Last week however matador Julio Aparicio slipped and the bull took advantage. Aparicio was gored through the throat and the tip of the horn could be seen coming out of his mouth.

He lived.

Other notable matador injuries.

Jose Tomas (gored in the groin)

A 12-year-old (not seriously hurt but went back and got gored again)

Francisco Marco (the title of the video says he was killed but he actually survived)
posted by Bonzai (125 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
I always like to see the underdog win.

...erm, underbull, rather.

My question is: if the bull defeats the matador, does he get to go free? I feel that would be a good incentive to put up a fight.
posted by sarastro at 9:26 PM on June 2, 2010


Ethical considerations aside, it's a sport where the matador must accept the risks. As horrific as the picture is (seen it elsewhere, no need to look again), my inate love of the underdog crept to the surface. Sure, the bull was going to be killed anyway, but at least it went down fighting.
posted by Ghidorah at 9:26 PM on June 2, 2010


I saw that tonight on The Colbert Report. Pretty awful. But I'm really not in favor of bullfighting, generally. The one single bullfight I attended in Juarez when I was 12 or 13 has stuck with me ever since as being less of a sport and more of extended animal torture in front of a cheering audience.
posted by hippybear at 9:26 PM on June 2, 2010 [14 favorites]


So doesn't that mean that the bull won, and he should have had a happy life munching on grass?

Oh, they killed him (the bull).

Fuck bullfighting.
posted by skjønn at 9:27 PM on June 2, 2010 [67 favorites]


And bullfighters, may I add.
posted by skjønn at 9:27 PM on June 2, 2010 [5 favorites]


Aparicio was gored through the throat...

¡Alegría!
posted by turgid dahlia at 9:28 PM on June 2, 2010


My sympathy = zero.
posted by brundlefly at 9:29 PM on June 2, 2010 [29 favorites]


I'm mightily disturbed and confused by how poignant, even beautiful, I found that slo-mo playback to be. It looks like it should be a fresco somewhere on the walls of Pompeii.
posted by CynicalKnight at 9:30 PM on June 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


I try to avoid editorializing in the body of my very infrequent posts, but, yeah it's pretty much the most barbaric sport there is and that's including that Afghan sport where they play polo with a headless goat carcass. (Buzkashi)
posted by Bonzai at 9:30 PM on June 2, 2010


a las cinco de la tarde...
posted by cmgonzalez at 9:30 PM on June 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Geez, that video is crazy. The bull actually carried him by his jaw for a meter or two. Insane.

Anyway, what did he expect? You go in there stabbing a bull, obvious it's going to try fighting back.
posted by delmoi at 9:31 PM on June 2, 2010


And bullfighters, may I add.

Where do I sign up?


Oh, er, yeah.
posted by darkstar at 9:31 PM on June 2, 2010


Also, bullfighting shouldn't be called bullfighting. It should be called "fighting a bull who has been so severely debilitated and handicapped, starved, and injured/tortured that actual similarity to fighting a healthy bull is very questionable." Doesn't have the same ring to it I guess.
posted by skjønn at 9:33 PM on June 2, 2010 [9 favorites]


Well, in Mexico they don't kill the bull like they do in Spain.

Still brutal and cruel though.
posted by bardic at 9:34 PM on June 2, 2010


When I was a wee tyke growing up in Oklahoma City, back when the National Finals Rodeo was held every year there, my parents once took me to said finals. I was very upset about the calf roping, and expressed concern that the calves would get hurt. My parents both assured me that the calf never gets hurt, and that it's just a game. The next calf out the chute had it's neck broken on the end of the rope, and the tractor had to come out and haul the body out. I still remember the silence from my parents.
posted by yhbc at 9:34 PM on June 2, 2010 [34 favorites]


He's gored through his chin, not his throat, which is why he's not dead. Still though, Go Bulls!
posted by w0mbat at 9:34 PM on June 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


If the bull actually had any sort of chance of winning, bullfighting would only be disgustingly barbaric. As it is...
posted by Caduceus at 9:36 PM on June 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


I forgot to mention; yeah, extended animal torture in the name of sport. Here, there, wherever it goes on.
posted by yhbc at 9:36 PM on June 2, 2010


God I hate people sometimes. They mistreat the bull, then put the bull in a cruel situation where he can't win even when he wins.
posted by Nattie at 9:37 PM on June 2, 2010


So, I was using an ATM inside a 7-11 in Santa Monica a couple weeks ago when I looked over and saw the picture of this guy getting gored in the chin as the entire cover of the NY Post. I thought at moment, "Gee, they really do news differently in New York, don't they?".
posted by sideshow at 9:40 PM on June 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


In the spirit of the snark-net Eiffel Tower thread, this would have been much more cool if the bull had ripped his jaw right out of his skull and pranced about the ring on his back hooves wearing it like an unholy tiara.
posted by CynicalKnight at 9:43 PM on June 2, 2010 [8 favorites]


Fool with the bull...
posted by Randwulf at 9:43 PM on June 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Gore blimey! don't forget Israel Lancho (tossed around like a puppet).
posted by unliteral at 9:43 PM on June 2, 2010


So unlike MeFi to tolerate so much victim-blaming. "If he didn't want to get gored, he shouldn't have been wearing those taleguilla pants!"

/hamburguesa
posted by hermitosis at 9:44 PM on June 2, 2010 [5 favorites]


He really took it in the chin. But kept a stiff upper lip. etc..
posted by stbalbach at 9:50 PM on June 2, 2010


Stop being so cheeky.
posted by brundlefly at 9:50 PM on June 2, 2010


Nicely done, Bull.
posted by davebush at 9:51 PM on June 2, 2010


Is bullfighting appreciably more brutal towards the animal than tactics at modern slaughterhouses? We are a bloody, vicious species in an even more vicious world.
posted by incessant at 9:52 PM on June 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


and the tip of the horn could be seen coming out of his mouth.

Though it didn't come out of her mouth, my mom had basically the same exact injury from a pogo stick in the 1960s.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 9:52 PM on June 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


I must admit, I don't have any sympathy with the fighter. Maybe if the bull had a bow and arrows and knew how to use it... Until that happens, can you blame the bull? In his place, wouldn't you have done the same?
posted by New England Cultist at 9:55 PM on June 2, 2010


I can't quite comprehend how the remaining industrialized nations that allow this can do so with a straight face and still call it "sport" or anything but "sanctioned animal torture". The whole concept is totally fucked and beyond cruel.
posted by disillusioned at 9:56 PM on June 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


I bet he never gets the taste of bull horn out of his mouth.
posted by bwg at 10:00 PM on June 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


incessant: "Is bullfighting appreciably more brutal towards the animal than tactics at modern slaughterhouses? We are a bloody, vicious species in an even more vicious world."

Yes. To the best of my knowledge slaughterhouses don't spend 30 minutes taunting the bull. (All that lactic acid would ruin the meat!)
posted by Bonzai at 10:02 PM on June 2, 2010 [11 favorites]


.

(for the bull)
posted by Splunge at 10:03 PM on June 2, 2010


To the best of my knowledge slaughterhouses don't spend 30 minutes taunting the bull.

Yeah, it pretty much starts when they're born.
posted by hermitosis at 10:05 PM on June 2, 2010 [16 favorites]


Yeah! I also watch Colbert!
posted by maniactown at 10:09 PM on June 2, 2010


Is bullfighting appreciably more brutal towards the animal than tactics at modern slaughterhouses?

Based on what I know of the work which Temple Grandin did, yes, it's considerably more humane. They work hard to keep from upsetting the cattle on their way into the slaughterhouse, they try to perform clean, instant kills on the cattle... It's a very different thing altogether.
posted by hippybear at 10:18 PM on June 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


The matador doesn't even enter the ring until the bull is exhausted, badly wounded and near death.

Wrong. The matador who's turn is up for that particular bull is one of the first, if not the first member of the cuadrilla to face the bull. Once the picadores and banderilleros have done their work, the matador will then again address the bull for the final tercio, or third of the bullfight.

so severely debilitated and handicapped, starved, and injured/tortured that actual similarity to fighting a healthy bull is very questionable.

Again and in most cases, especially at the large bull rings, wrong. The last thing that a bullfighter needs is an injured bull on his hands. As soon as an injury is detected, given legs, eyesight or neurological, a number of cabestros or neutered cattle are led into the ring and help get the injured bull out back to the pen.

When I say in most cases, I mean any professional bullfighting situation where they use real bulls bred for the ring. Those seaside spectacles put on for tourists or the bloodbaths up in the villages are not bullfights, they're public lynchings.

At Las Ventas in Madrid, the bulls are kept in an adjacent, large pen, unrestricted in their movement, unmolested, fed and watered prior to their call to the ring. The only time that they come in contact with other humans aside from the pen supervisor is when they're ready to go into the ring and have a ribbon attached when they're in the box awaiting their turn. No beating, no cattle prods, no torture. After that, it's all bullfighting until they're either dragged out or removed due to injury. The bulls are bought and paid for by the organizers and the meat is donated to whatever charity, so I can only imagine an extreme case where a bull is sent back to pasture.

There's a lot more that I can tell you about the lives of the bulls, but you can read that for yourself.

None of that takes away from the savage twenty minutes they spend in the ring, a barbaric custom who's time has passed, but if given the chance of putting up a fight or being herded into a slaughter house, I'd rather the former. It's a stupid statement to make, given that a bull doesn't get to choose, but I'd rather be cheered on as I'm going out. But that's just me.

This is not meant to be an apology for the tradition, but as you chomp on that slaughtered burger this summer, recognize that the number of bulls killed in a ring each year pales in comparison to those destined for the feed lots and slaughterhouses. It's taken me many years, but I've come around to recognize that it doesn't play a part in a modern society, along with any activity using animals for human enjoyment, like zoos, but at least take a moment to understand the nature of what you're talking about before you go spouting off. The material is there, in volumes, and freely available.
posted by jsavimbi at 10:26 PM on June 2, 2010 [42 favorites]


>God I hate people sometimes. They mistreat the bull, then put the bull in a cruel situation where he can't win even when he wins.

>I can't quite comprehend how the remaining industrialized nations that allow this can do so with a straight face and still call it "sport" or anything but "sanctioned animal torture". The whole concept is totally fucked and beyond cruel.

Bullfighting is cruel, but, proportionally speaking, tens of thousands of more equally cruel acts are committed every day in the name of institutionalized agribusiness. I'm not talking about merely killing animals for food, which is arguably unavoidable, I'm talking about living conditions and killing methods.
posted by JHarris at 10:34 PM on June 2, 2010 [13 favorites]


The one single bullfight I attended in Juarez when I was 12 or 13 has stuck with me ever since as being less of a sport and more of extended animal torture in front of a cheering audience.

I don't think they do this in Spain, but when I was living in San Diego, The Reader (the free alternate weekly) did a story on how they prepped the bull for the ring in Tijuana. It was brutal - vaseline in the eyes, baseball bat strikes to the legs, etc.

Bullfighting is a misnomer; it isn't a fight. It's a man demonstrating that he can kill the bull at his discretion. I recognize the display of courage and grace, but I just don't get how someone can believe that it transcends the vile act of taking one's pleasure in the gratuitous, prolonged death of an animal.
posted by BigSky at 10:35 PM on June 2, 2010


It's difficult to tell why the bullfighter stumbles.
But shit, lucky he didn't get his head ripped off.
posted by PHINC at 10:43 PM on June 2, 2010


as you chomp on that slaughtered burger this summer

Since you directed this towards a comment I made, jsavimbi, I'll say: speak for yourself. I will chomp no such thing.
posted by skjønn at 10:44 PM on June 2, 2010


Most of you sissies, safe in your apartments with your Internets and your YouTubes, will never understand what it's like to have the raw deadly energy of an animal coming at you with full force. I've been a cat matador, so I totally understand what this is all about.

And I have the scratches to prove it!
posted by twoleftfeet at 11:09 PM on June 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Julio Aparicio? Too bad it wasn't Joe Arpaio.
posted by clarknova at 11:29 PM on June 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh I had a bull elk charge me once. Scary as hell. Like the matador, I guess I had it coming.
posted by clarknova at 11:30 PM on June 2, 2010


I was going to make a joke to the effect that they started bullfighting when the Inquisition ran out of heretics to torture, but it may not be that much of a joke:

The author makes many interesting observations (her discussion of early bullfighting as an adaptation of the language and form of the public executions of the Spanish Inquisition is especially fascinating),...
posted by jamjam at 11:37 PM on June 2, 2010


The bull at the end was killed by group of other matadors. That's just the worst part for me.
posted by psycho-alchemy at 11:41 PM on June 2, 2010


Wow. So if you're killing dolphins it's cool cause it's part of your tradition, but if you're killing bulls then it is so, so wrong.
posted by PostIronyIsNotaMyth at 11:52 PM on June 2, 2010


I don't think they do this in Spain, but when I was living in San Diego, The Reader (the free alternate weekly) did a story on how they prepped the bull for the ring in Tijuana.

I saw a bullfight in Tijuana when I was about 12 or 13; my family had taken a day trip from San Diego with the bullfight as the centerpiece of the occasion.

It was unquestionably one of the bloodiest, most brutal things I've ever seen, tantamount to ritual murder. After the first bull was brought down and then stabbed, repeatedly, by the attending workers and matadors, my sister started crying. But we'd paid our money, so my parents insisted we stayed for the next one, then the next, then the next. By the fourth or fifth of what was apparently a 10-bull killing process, even my parents had had enough, and we left immediately.

The thing that got me right from the beginning, though, was that any time the bull moved towards a matador, even took one step, literally every human in the ring leapt over the fence to safety, no matter where they were. Cowards, I thought and still think. Fucking cowards. Where is your machismo now?
posted by Errant at 11:53 PM on June 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Man, back in the day on Crete they knew how to do this without harming the poor beast.
posted by rainy at 11:59 PM on June 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


MY TWO CENTS, GRAR!!!
posted by bam at 12:31 AM on June 3, 2010


Wow. So if you're killing dolphins it's cool cause it's part of your tradition, but if you're killing bulls then it is so, so wrong.

What are you talking about?
posted by delmoi at 12:45 AM on June 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


This makes me think of a letter of Cicero, where he describes gladiator games with disgust and compassion for the animals. Five days were spent killing different animals in the arena:

The last day was that of the elephants, on which there was a great deal of astonishment on the part of the vulgar crowd, but no pleasure whatever. Nay, there was even a certain feeling of compassion aroused by it, and a kind of belief created that that animal has something in common with mankind.

This was written in the first century B. C.
posted by Termite at 12:47 AM on June 3, 2010 [7 favorites]


Well put, jsavimbi.
posted by ruelle at 12:56 AM on June 3, 2010


Previously, on Metafilter, more unethical animal torture: Torturing rattlesnakes. I guess people like to take scary animals, like snakes and bulls, and knock 'em down a notch: you know, show them who's really boss.
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 1:06 AM on June 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


Bullfighting is indeed cruel and barbaric, and it must be outlawed. It's also, "in your face". The worldwide industry of meat is also cruel and barbaric, but it's neatly hidden under the surface of modern society. Which leads me to this quote by Hannah Arendt:

The hypocrite's crime is that he bears false witness against himself. What makes it so plausible to assume that hypocrisy is the vice of vices is that integrity can indeed exist under the cover of all other vices except this one. Only crime and the criminal, it is true, confront us with the perplexity of radical evil; but only the hypocrite is really rotten to the core.
posted by valdesm at 1:36 AM on June 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


RE cruelty to animals, I once worked for a guy who caught a small scorpion (they're all over the place here in AZ). He put it in a little medicine bottle and kept it on his desk for a couple of days. Every now and then, he'd pick up the bottle and SHAKE it vigorously, while sporting this shit-eating grin, just to get a kick out of how angry it made the trapped scorpion.

Now, I'm totally not a fan of scorpions, and will kill them when I see them. But I couldn't help but think that the dude was just an ugly pile of monkey crap in a suit for so mercilessly tormenting the damn thing like that.

Then again, there's no quicker way to get my blood boiling than to see someone show cruelty to animals or people. Something about it triggers my empathy response so deeply that it overwhelms reason. I know it's ironic, but I just want to beat people like that severely. Severely.

Needless to say, I never went to bullfights when I was in Spain.
posted by darkstar at 2:01 AM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Matadors being maimed and bulls leaping over walls and trampling all over bullfight spectators - two of lifes great and precious pleasures.
posted by fire&wings at 2:07 AM on June 3, 2010


I love the fact that these have (rightly) been spoilered to death online (GRAPHIC! WARNING! EXTREMELY GRUESOME!) for the squeamish and faint of heart, and yet the vomit-inducing money shot was the 10"x10" full color COVER of the NY Post, available at a newstand/subway/train seat near you!
posted by availablelight at 2:53 AM on June 3, 2010


I guess people like to take scary animals, like snakes and bulls, and knock 'em down a notch: you know, show them who's really boss.

You have a fine career profiling serial killers ahead of you Philosopher Dirtbike.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 3:02 AM on June 3, 2010


delmoi said: "What are you talking about?"

I recall reading about a community somewhere that have a annual cull of dolphins. I may or may not have read it on here. part of the cull involves a metal rod being inserted into the dolphin's blowhole, and then it is dragged to shore. I seem to recall this happening in Norway, or somewhere like that. I'm hazy on the details.

Unfortunately, the pictures I saw in the article remain crystal clear.
posted by Solomon at 3:24 AM on June 3, 2010


Bit more info here. There appear to be videos, but I'm not going to watch to see what they are.
posted by Solomon at 3:29 AM on June 3, 2010


I recall reading about a community somewhere that have a annual cull of dolphins ...
Unfortunately, the pictures I saw in the article remain crystal clear.
Well look, the rest of us can't see into your head. You're the one who brought up dolphins in this thread. No one who opposed bullfighting prefaced their comment with "Well, if this was a dolphin, I wouldn't give a fuck!!"

Personally, i don't really care, except that if the bull wins, it ought to win you know? none of this cowardly "kill the bull" uh, bullshit.
posted by delmoi at 3:40 AM on June 3, 2010


And now, the news for bulls.
posted by Obscure Reference at 3:58 AM on June 3, 2010


Meanwhile, back in Ohio.
posted by metagnathous at 4:20 AM on June 3, 2010


Personally, i don't really care, except that if the bull wins, it ought to win you know? none of this cowardly "kill the bull" uh, bullshit.

"Murciélago was a Navarra fighting bull known for having survived 28 sword strokes in an October 5, 1879 fight against Rafael "El Lagartijo" Molina Sanchez, at the Coso de los califas bullring in Córdoba, Spain.

Murciélago fought with such passion and spirit that the crowd called for his life to be spared, an honor which the matador bestowed. The bull, which came from the farm of Joaquin del Val di Navarra, was later presented as a gift to Don Antonio Miura. Together with his brother, Don Eduardo Miura, they brought Murciélago into the Miura line by siring him with 70 cows. Bulls from the Miura ranch, located near Seville, Spain, are known for being large and ferocious."
posted by a young man in spats at 4:32 AM on June 3, 2010 [5 favorites]


delmoi said: "Well look, the rest of us can't see into your head. You're the one who brought up dolphins in this thread. No one who opposed bullfighting prefaced their comment with "Well, if this was a dolphin, I wouldn't give a fuck!!" "

Firstly, it wasn't me who mentioned it originally. Check the usernames. Secondly, I find your tone to be abusive and unwarranted. I feel that you owe me an apology.
posted by Solomon at 4:46 AM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


So, I was using an ATM inside a 7-11 in Santa Monica a couple weeks ago when I looked over and saw the picture of this guy getting gored in the chin as the entire cover of the NY Post. I thought at moment, "Gee, they really do news differently in New York, don't they?

The weather on that Saturday in NYC was perfect, so everyone was out and about. I had to stop into 4-5 delis that day, and I swear, in every single one, someone was holding up that NY Post "H-OLÉ!" cover and talking about it w/ a stranger. Truly my generation's HEADLESS BODY IN TOPLESS BAR NY Post moment.
posted by NolanRyanHatesMatches at 4:50 AM on June 3, 2010


Bulls from the Miura ranch, located near Seville, Spain, are known for being large and ferocious."

They are also the namesake of one of the sexiest Lamborghinis ever (Lamborghini's emblem is the bull).
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:38 AM on June 3, 2010


The Miura was indeed named for Senor Miura (or his ranch).
posted by MuffinMan at 5:42 AM on June 3, 2010


Good!
posted by DieHipsterDie at 6:06 AM on June 3, 2010


I watched an afternoon of bullfighting once. The part that bothered me wasn't so much the bulls, but the role played by the horses. They had these horses with big padded mattresses on their sides, and their job was to get pounded by the bull while guys riding them poked the bull with spears. Pads or no pads, that's a tough-ass job, and unlike the people involved, the horses aren't given any choice in the matter.

I felt less sorry for the bulls because I've been chased by bulls a couple of times, which was fucking scary and I eat beef routinely so my moral high ground is pretty minimal. I was glad to have seen it myself, but I have no interest in ever seeing it again.
posted by Forktine at 6:08 AM on June 3, 2010



posted by h0p3y at 6:23 AM on June 3, 2010


In the 60's there was a fad among my mother and her friends to decorate their homes with a "Spanish-Mediterranean" theme which translated as wrought iron furniture, serapes as blanket throws, pink paper roses and bullfighter capes on the walls. About twice a year mom would drive to Tijuana to go shopping and take in a bullfight. I went with her a few times, but I don't remember much just that it was very hot and smelly and at the end of the fight they would cut off the bull's ears. Once my aunt from Chicago came with us and afterwards vomited in reaction from the heat and the blood.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:24 AM on June 3, 2010


Lambo goes even further than that: they've had a Murciélago model for the past decade.
posted by bonehead at 6:29 AM on June 3, 2010


So will this jerk give up bullfighting now or embrace it more vigorously?
posted by Daddy-O at 6:32 AM on June 3, 2010


I am disgusted by bullfighting.

People have rightly pointed out that most (all?) countries, including my own, often treat animals cruelly. That disturbs me, and I'm ashamed to say that I'm hypocritical about it. I eat meat. I eat eggs from chickens who have had terrible lives, etc. This is something I struggle with, and I've had several bouts of vegetarianism without ever sticking with it.

But there's another aspect of bullfighting that disturbs me just as much as what's being done to the poor bull, and I can't think of an analogy in mainstream America: torture as public spectacle.

The cynical response is to say that in the US, we torture in private, which is true and terrible. But the endorsed public bloodfest of bullfighting is equally (or more) terrible in its own way. Thousands of people watch and cheer as an animal is tortured and then killed. Children are brought up, learning that this is normal and fun. To me, that's a sign of a deeply dysfunctional society.

I also know it used to be the norm: gladiator fights, bear-baiting, etc. I am glad that, in a lot of countries, we have moved beyond this barbarism.
posted by grumblebee at 6:40 AM on June 3, 2010 [4 favorites]


Horses - the forgotten victims of bullfighting:
It's not unusual for horses used in bullfights to be so badly gored by the bulls that they have to be killed, but only after they have been dragged from the ring and the view of the spectators.
...
These horses are often gored even though they are protected by what is termed a "peto", or a protective cape. These petos often do little more than hide the horses wounds.

The horses are blind-folded to prevent them from becoming terror stricken at the charge of the bull. It is commonly believed that their ears are stuffed with cottonwool to prevent them from panicking and their vocal cords cut to stop them screaming with fear at the bull's attack.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:49 AM on June 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


He lived.

But did he want to?
posted by randomkeystrike at 7:02 AM on June 3, 2010


But there's another aspect of bullfighting that disturbs me just as much as what's being done to the poor bull, and I can't think of an analogy in mainstream America: torture as public spectacle.

arguably, boxing is. You get injured in other sports, but the aim or objective in boxing is to injure the opponent. I think this is one of the reasons it's gone from being an ABC sports Saturday afternoon thing to mostly local and PPV/Showtime... Howard Cosell supposedly developed qualms about it after reporting on it for years.

While being cruel to animals is bad in and of itself, animals are cruel to other animals every day off in the woods (and my backyard) and there's really no moral issue to be dealt with. It's bad, but there's nothing to be done, seriously.

The issue, as you've pointed out, is exactly what it does to humans. I have a similar problem with capital punishment, which may sound odd but here goes:

even if (hypothetically) capital sentences were always handed out fairly and without bias and even if we can all agree that there are lousy scoundrel murderers and rapists who need killing, who is going to do the killing, and what effect does that killing have on the executioner? I can't imagine having a job where every few weeks my task was to end someone's life in cold blood, however justified that task might be.
posted by randomkeystrike at 7:09 AM on June 3, 2010


At Las Ventas in Madrid, the bulls are kept in an adjacent, large pen, unrestricted in their movement, unmolested, fed and watered prior to their call to the ring. The only time that they come in contact with other humans aside from the pen supervisor is when they're ready to go into the ring and have a ribbon attached when they're in the box awaiting their turn. No beating, no cattle prods, no torture.

...and then they're taken into a stadium where thousands of people watch them get tortured to death.

Who cares if bulls are treated "better" than livestock before they are then subjected to cruel, brutal and unnecessary violence? It's just as much a strawman as the "well look at factory farming" argument. Yeah, that sucks too, but it doesn't mean you can't stop torturing animals for sport, like, yesterday.

Bull "fighting" is a horrific, archaic practice that deserves as much respect in our modern era as stoning, crucifixion, and the two-minute hate from 1984. And people should watch this. They should be forced to see it, not in the groupthink adrenaline of a thousand-person crowd, but alone, right here, on their TVs and computers, able to rationalize what this is. Like the Abu Ghraib photos. It's hurting something. For fun.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:10 AM on June 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


Since you directed this towards a comment I made, jsavimbi, I'll say: speak for yourself. I will chomp no such thing.


Can I have your burger then?!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:13 AM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's taken me many years, but I've come around to recognize that it doesn't play a part in a modern society, along with any activity using animals for human enjoyment, like zoos, but at least take a moment to understand the nature of what you're talking about before you go spouting off.

It's incredibly ironic that you threw out this line in a comment about other people's lack of knowing "the nature of what they're talking about." I have several friends who work passionately in zoological science and making any comparison of the preservation of animals in zoos and killing them for entertainment purposes is the height of both insult to them and ignorance of what they do. Of course zoos are public entertainment. So is PBS. So are art museums. That the subjects are living creatures doesn't negate the fact that people are working harder than most of us ever work at our jobs to take care of and protect those subjects... in many cases animals that are as rare as aforementioned pieces of art, and equally on the cusp on non-existence without careful intervention. Obviously there are sad and depressing exceptions in the form of private zoos but in the overall field of animal science, to compare the people who strive to preserve to people who want to destroy is just ridiculous.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:30 AM on June 3, 2010 [6 favorites]


Which leads me to this quote by Hannah Arendt:

The hypocrite's crime is that he bears false witness against himself. What makes it so plausible to assume that hypocrisy is the vice of vices is that integrity can indeed exist under the cover of all other vices except this one. Only crime and the criminal, it is true, confront us with the perplexity of radical evil; but only the hypocrite is really rotten to the core.


Huh. That's an enlightening point of view. Thanks Hannah! I learned something today.

See, I don't eat beef, pork, or fish, and haven't in well over a decade. I would have liked to abstain from eating meat entirely, but over the years, I just haven't been able to muster up the willpower to kick the chicken and turkey habit (and frankly, when foods I don't like are factored in, as well as my prediabetic dietary needs, there's not a whole lot left for me to eat anymore). But since I don't want to be what a genius like Arendt considers to be the lowest conceivable form of morally corrupt being in existence, I guess from now on, although I can still un-hypocritically consider bullfighting to be an abhorrent, pointlessly brutal spectacle, I must now officially declare myself an enthusiastic proponent of cockfighting. Phew! I feel so much more moral now.

Thanks, puritanical, anti-hypocrisy brigade! With your help, the world just keeps getting a little better every day.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:47 AM on June 3, 2010


Also: That bull totally kicks ass and since he won fair and square should have been left to live out the rest of his life unmolested in some wide open field, where he could just sit and sniff the flowers under his favorite cork tree, like Ferdinand.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:59 AM on June 3, 2010 [8 favorites]


I must now officially declare myself an enthusiastic proponent of cockfighting.

I am not sure how much of your post was a joke, but, taking you seriously, there's another alternative besides hypocrisy and gung-ho enthusiasm. It's not an easy one, but it's honest: admit that you're imperfect, which sometimes means morally imperfect. If you can quit an immoral practice, quit it; if you can't, have the courage to look it straight in the eye.

I think eating meat from tortured animals is wrong.

I eat meat from tortured animals.


That's something I do which is wrong.


Though I'm not claiming to have wiped hypocrisy and justifying from my psyche, I have practiced this kind of honesty for years. It is sometimes difficult, but it feels much more right than the alternatives.

However, the older I get, the more I keep these thoughts private. People seem to have a much easier time hearing justifications than honest admissions. The idea seems to be that if you know you're doing wrong, you should be able to stop. As if all wrong-doers were just ignorant and as-soon-as you point out to them wrongdoing, they'll stop.
posted by grumblebee at 8:02 AM on June 3, 2010 [6 favorites]


I guess from now on, although I can still un-hypocritically consider bullfighting to be an abhorrent, pointlessly brutal spectacle, I must now officially declare myself an enthusiastic proponent of cockfighting. Phew! I feel so much more moral now.

Sorry man, but things working in opposition to one another hurts. 20 year vegetarian here. That includes chicken and turkey.
posted by nevercalm at 8:18 AM on June 3, 2010


Personally, i don't really care, except that if the bull wins, it ought to win you know? none of this cowardly "kill the bull" uh, bullshit.

The title of the post comes from a joke about this idea.
A man finds himself in Mexico for a month for business.

One Saturday he see a small little restaurant right next to the bullfighting arena and he decides to give it a try.

He asks the waiter for the house special who brings him a plate of spaghetti with a giant meatball. It's the best thing he's ever eaten and he returns every Saturday for the same meal.

On the last Saturday before he goes back home his wife flies down to join him and he takes her to the same restaurant and orders his favorite meal.

The waiter brings two plates of spaghetti with the tiniest meatballs he's ever seen.

"Excuse me", he says, "But why are the meatballs so much smaller today?"

The waiter tells him, "Senor, sometime El Toro he win."

posted by Bonzai at 8:19 AM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Who cares if bulls are treated "better" than livestock before they are then subjected to cruel, brutal and unnecessary violence?

I do. I care if someone is correct in their inflammatory comments preceding an argument. It matters to me and hurts the brain in the same way when I hear confusespeak about freedums, terrists and socialist usurpers.

And just to bring context to the conversation, we're talking about a professional bullfighter in a major bull ring in Spain, not some guy on the lowbrow feria circuit, Portuguese, French or South American traditions. Again, the information is freely available and tickets to a fight aren't that expensive although you'll have to cough up a €1 for a cushion, which you can later use as a projectile if you've found the quality of the fight to be subpar.

Good ranchers, bad ranchers. Good zookeepers, bad zookeepers. Good bullfighters, bad bullfighters. No matter how you slice it, humanity's record with regards to anything, be it the environment, marine life, animals or ourselves has been atrocious and there is no moral high ground upon which to stand, regardless of whether it's done in the name of sport, science or nutrition.

On an aside, does anyone know if there is a correlation of increased crime in the areas surrounding bullrings as there is in those areas surrounding slaughterhouses?
posted by jsavimbi at 8:27 AM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sorry man, but things working in opposition to one another hurts. 20 year vegetarian here. That includes chicken and turkey.

You're right. I'm gonna start eating beef and pork again tonight, so at least I won't be rotten to the core or have things working in opposition to one another. I had a list of about ten other habits I wanted to change to improve myself, but since I haven't been able to accomplish them all at once, I guess I'll set fire to the list.

grumblebee--I was mostly being facetious, but in essence I think I agree with you. To me, it's not actually hypocrisy to aspire imperfectly to some set of ideals. In fact, it's practically inevitable. It's hypocrisy to knowingly deceive others into believing you already do live in accordance with some set of higher principles, when in reality you have no real, abiding commitment to those ideals at all. Over the years I think American culture has developed a tendency to confuse actual hypocrisy with ideological impurity or human imperfection, almost as if there's been an erosion in our ability to properly account for the significance of intentions in our ethical calculations.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:51 AM on June 3, 2010


Go bull! Fuck bullfighting.
posted by Scoo at 9:07 AM on June 3, 2010


Colbert Report - Craziest F#?ing Thing I've Ever Heard - Gored Bullfighter
posted by homunculus at 9:32 AM on June 3, 2010


I have no problem with bullfighting being legal, on one tiny condition. The win/loss, live/die, stats for bull and matador have to be equal. If 50% of the time, the matador died, and 50% of the time the bull died, I'd be completely in favor of keeping bullfighting legal.
posted by sotonohito at 9:59 AM on June 3, 2010


Remember when people were outraged at that video of a U.S. soldier tossing a puppy off a cliff, as if a million dead Iraqi people is less disturbing? And how the LOST producers ended the show with a cute dog moment to manipulate viewers' emotions and distract them from the fact that a million loose threads were left dangling? And now there's this video of a human being getting terribly injured by a bull and people are proudly saying "I have zero sympathy for the person?" I would like to know exactly when and how our fellow homo sapiens were de-humanized to the point that people only have empathy for animals.
posted by thescientificmethhead at 10:25 AM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Like any twenty-year old with a healthy obsession with Hemingway, I can remember reading "Death in the Afternoon" -- his treatise on bullfighting. And though, I'd never seen a bullfight, the romance of the whole affair captured my imagination. My fondest memory of the book is a story that I used to tell people who'd lost their girlfriends/boyfriends:

That the matador's job is to publicly risk his life. He must allow the bull's horns to pass as close to his body as possible, or else he is said to be "murdering the bull." Once a matador has been gored, however, he is useless for the bullfight: He will never again allow the bull's horns to pass so close to his stomach.
posted by esprit de l'escalier at 10:28 AM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


I would like to know exactly when and how our fellow homo sapiens were de-humanized to the point that people only have empathy for animals.

Never.

It's not binary.
posted by grumblebee at 10:31 AM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


I would like to know exactly when and how our fellow homo sapiens were de-humanized to the point that people only have empathy for animals.

Empathy for animals and empathy for humans are not necessarily mutually exclusive, you know. (In fact, since humans are animals--well, you can't really have one without the other can you?)

And to be fair, in this case the dude's job came with the expectation he could be gored at any time--the so-called sport of bullfighting, in fact, exploits the fact that the matador might be gored to create a more thrilling spectacle, doesn't it?

It's not exactly fair to characterize it as a lack of empathy for humans in general when people display a lack of empathy for a professional bull-antagonizer who got gored while engaged in the act of bull antagonizing.

I'd posit that at least half the supposed thrill of watching a bullfight comes from the very real, immediate possibility of the matador being gored or worse. Why aren't you excoriating the onlookers for their lack of empathy in being titillated by the remote possibility of real harm befalling the matador? The nascent desire to see the matador maimed or worse is as much a part of the appeal of this perverse tradition as is the crowd's prurient interest in watching an animal be reminded of its subordinate place by the elegant specimen of human superiority that the matador is meant to represent, isn't it?
posted by saulgoodman at 10:47 AM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


But there's another aspect of bullfighting that disturbs me just as much as what's being done to the poor bull, and I can't think of an analogy in mainstream America: torture as public spectacle.

There used to be those three-day-long Phish sets .....
posted by mannequito at 10:49 AM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


OK fine it's not binary or whatever the hell that's supposed to mean (mutually exclusive?), my point is I see a trend that people are more distressed by cruelty to animals than by acts of violence committed against their fellow humans.
posted by thescientificmethhead at 10:55 AM on June 3, 2010


What takes real fortitude is bull dressing.
posted by Zed at 11:03 AM on June 3, 2010


my point is I see a trend that people are more distressed by cruelty to animals than by acts of violence committed against their fellow humans.

I don't think there's any such trend in evidence here (nor have I really seen any evidence of such a trend in my personal experience, FWIW). In this case, the dude was specifically in that ring trying to provoke a bull to attack him so he could stab it through the heart with a sword. He got what he wanted and the bull did attack him. Hey, at least the matador still has his life.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:11 AM on June 3, 2010


You may laugh at that, but there IS an event in the gay rodeo circuit called "goat dressing".
posted by hippybear at 11:12 AM on June 3, 2010


Good ranchers, bad ranchers. Good zookeepers, bad zookeepers. Good bullfighters, bad bullfighters. No matter how you slice it, humanity's record with regards to anything, be it the environment, marine life, animals or ourselves has been atrocious and there is no moral high ground upon which to stand, regardless of whether it's done in the name of sport, science or nutrition.

Based on your logic, I am forbidden from ever speaking out on cruelty to animals because of humanity's bad record on animals. I reject that argument.

And there is no such thing as a good bullfighter. They all torture and kill bulls for public spectacle (In fact, as mentioned above, the comparison of zoologists to bullfighters is simply odious)

The world would be a better place without bullfighting, regardless of the existence of slaughterhouses (and, by the way, I'm all for reducing our culture's dependency on red meat as well as greatly improving methods used in Slaughterhouses - and as Hippybear pointed out, the work of Temple Grandin is a big step in the right direction).

And slaughterhouses, for better or worse, serve a public utility. They feed people.

What is the possible public utility of watching a bull be tortured to death?
posted by cjets at 11:46 AM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'd posit that at least half the supposed thrill of watching a bullfight comes from the very real, immediate possibility of the matador being gored or worse.

I've heard this argument before and I still disagree with it. There is no more nascent desire to see a bullfighter maimed or killed in the ring as there is a desire to witness a mid-air collisions at an air show and regardless of the vast publicity Julio Aparicio's goring received, it was due to the pornographic nature of that event and is not an indication that there exists a movement of people who are willing to take sides in a battle where there are no sides.

Although there will always be a small minority that derives pleasure from the misfortune of others, the vast majority of bullfighting fans have great respect and admiration for both the great bulls and bullfighters alike and equal disdain to those who cannot perform accordingly.

What the spectators want to see is cooperation between man and beast as they make their way through to the end of the dance with the expected outcome, however unfortunate for the bull that it may be. And when things don't go as planned, which happened many times in the career of one Curro Romero "El Faraon de Camas', the public reacts with displeasure as I'm sure phishheads would if their promised three-day set was cut short due to the music already having been played.
posted by jsavimbi at 11:47 AM on June 3, 2010


jsavimbi: What the spectators want to see is cooperation between man and beast as they make their way through to the end of the dance ---

I really like the use of the word 'cooperation' in this context.
posted by Termite at 11:58 AM on June 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


And now there's this video of a human being getting terribly injured by a bull and people are proudly saying "I have zero sympathy for the person?" I would like to know exactly when and how our fellow homo sapiens were de-humanized to the point that people only have empathy for animals.

You have a point and Hemingway, while making his case for the nobility of bull fighting, expands on it in "Death in the Afternoon",

""Let him hook as he wants; I can handle him," Gitanillo drew the sword out of the leather sheath that went limp as the stiffness was gone and strode, long legging, toward the bull. He let him come once and go by for the pase de la muerte. The bull turned very quickly and Gitanillo turned with the muleta to let him come by on the left, raised the muleta and then rose himself into the air, his legs wide spread, his hands still holding the muleta, his head down, the bull's left horn in his thigh. The bull turned him on the horn and threw him against the barrera. The bull's horn found him, picked him up once more and threw him against the wood again. Then as he lay there the bull drove the horn through his back. All of this did not take three seconds and from the instant the bull first lifted him Marcial Lalanda was running toward him with the cape. The other bullfighters had their capes wide spread, flopping them at the bull. Marcial went in at the bull's head, shoving his knee into the bull's muzzle, slapping him across the face to make him leave the man and come out in a rush; Marcial running out into the ring backwards, the bull following the cape. Gitanillo tried to get to his feet, but couldn't, the bull ring servants picked him up and ran with him, his head swaying, toward the infirmary. A banderillero had been gored by the first bull and the doctor still had him on the operating table when they came in with Gitanillo. He saw there was no tremendous hemorrage, the femoral artery had not been severed, finished with the banderillero and then went to work. There was a horn wound in each thigh and in each wound the quadriceps and abductor muscles had been torn loose. But in the wound in the back the horn had driven clean through the pelvis and had torn the sciatic nerve and pulled it out by the root as a worm may be pulled out of the damp lawn by a robin.

When his father came to see him, Gitanillo said, "Don't cry, little papa. You remember how bad the automobile thing was and they all said we wouldn't get over it.? This is going to be the same way." Later he said, "I know I can't drink, but tell them to moisten my mouth. Just moisten my mouth a little."

Those people who say they would pay to go to a bullfight if they could see the man gored not just always the bulls killed by the men, should have been at the ring, in the infirmary, and later in the hospital. Gitanillo lived through the heat of June and July and the first two weeks of August dying finally then of meningitis from the wound at the base of the spine. He weighed one hundred and twenty-eight pounds when he was gored and he weighed sixty-three pounds when he died and during the summer suffered three different ruptures of the femoral artery, weakened by ulcers from the drainage tubes in his thigh wound and rupturing when he coughed. While he was in the hospital Felix Rodriguez and Valencia II came in with almost identical thigh wounds and were both discharged as able to fight, although their wounds were still open, before Gitanillo died. Gitanillo's bad luck was that the bull threw him against the base of the wooden fence so that he was against something solid when the horn made that chop at his back. Had he been lying on the sand in the open ring the same horn stroke that wounded him fatally would probably have thrown him into the air rather than driven through his pelvis. The people who say they would pay to see a bullfighter killed would have had their money's worth when Gitanillo became delirious in the hot weather with the nerve pain. You could hear him in the street. It seemed a crime to keep him alive and he would have been much luckier to have died soon after the fight while he still had control of himself and still possessed his courage rather than to have gone through the progressive horror of physical and spiritual humiliation that the long enough continued bearing of unbearable pain produces. To watch and to hear a human being in this time should, I suppose, make one more considerate about the horses, the bulls and other animals, but there is a quick pull forward on a horse's ears to tighten the skin over the vertebrae at the base of the skull and an easy stroke by the puntilla between the vertebrae that solves all a horse's problems and drops him dead without a twitch. The bull gets death within fifteen minutes of when the man starts to play him and all wounds he receives are in hot blood and if they do not hurt any more than the wounds a man receives in hot blood they cannot hurt much. But as long as man is regarded as having an immortal soul and doctors will keep him alive through times when death would seem the greatest gift one man could give another, then the horses and the bulls will seem well taken care of and man to run the greatest risk."

It's true that the risk of the worst case scenario is run by the man in the ring, and that the critics of bull fighting can be terribly callous about the suffering of the injured matadors. Hemingway has a good response to the most emotionally charged response of the critics, but he also uses the depiction Gitanillo's slow death to claim that men have more at risk. This final clause is hard to take seriously, there is such a thing as a probability distribution. A search only brought up one partial list of Spanish matadors who have died in the ring over the last 200 years. It isn't very long.

And choosing to answer only the weakest part of the criticism, the critic's emotional response, only goes so far. Many of us do feel compassion for the matador's suffering. Sympathy is also leavened by the matador going in willingly, prepared to do what it takes to comes back out with full knowledge of the risks.
posted by BigSky at 12:04 PM on June 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


Based on your logic, I am forbidden from ever speaking out on cruelty to animals because of humanity's bad record on animals. I reject that argument.

No, I think you're missing the context of my response to the argument that zookeepers are better than bullfighters because they pretend to study captive animals for years on end until they're too old and need to be put down.

What are the point of zoos and marine parks again? What public utility does the permanent incarceration and display of an animal perform again?

And slaughterhouses, for better or worse, serve a public utility. They feed people.

Up until right now, did you think they threw the bulls away?
posted by jsavimbi at 12:13 PM on June 3, 2010


And now there's this video of a human being getting terribly injured by a bull and people are proudly saying "I have zero sympathy for the person?" I would like to know exactly when and how our fellow homo sapiens were de-humanized to the point that people only have empathy for animals.

Well for me personally it was right around the time the animal was attacked by a guy with a sword.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 12:30 PM on June 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


What public utility does the permanent incarceration and display of an animal perform again?

Well, let me take a shot at this:

A) Zoos are often used to treat wounded animals and to house examples of endangered or at-risk species that might otherwise simply die in the wild; B) Zoos give humans an opportunity to encounter in a controlled setting various species of animals they might never otherwise have even known existed in person, which can help the public develop sympathetic emotional attachments to the animals; C) Zoos provide opportunities to educate the public about issues of animal endangerment due to human habitat destruction; D) Public zoos are a source of public revenue and can help to stimulate other kinds of economic activity in the communities that host them.

Any un-sentimentalized case I can conceive of for the potential public benefits of the ritual of bull fighting can just as well be made for zoos, only with the additional benefit in the case of zoos that the animals aren't publicly tormented and slaughtered for sport.
posted by saulgoodman at 12:33 PM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well, allow me to take a shot at this as well:

A) Bullrings are often used to treat wounded animals and to house examples of endangered or at-risk species that might otherwise simply die in the wild; B) Bullrings give humans an opportunity to encounter in a controlled setting various species of animals they might never otherwise have even known existed in person, which can help the public develop sympathetic emotional attachments to the animals; C) Bullrings provide opportunities to educate the public about issues of animal endangerment due to human habitat destruction; D) Public bullrings are a source of public revenue and can help to stimulate other kinds of economic activity in the communities that host them.

How did I do?
posted by jsavimbi at 12:44 PM on June 3, 2010


Like I said: you've got no better case for bullfighting than for zoos (and yet I detect you have a certain implied contempt for them), and zoos typically don't centrally involve jabbing otherwise healthy animals with swords and eventually killing them as throngs of onlookers cheer for the guy doing the killing.
posted by saulgoodman at 12:56 PM on June 3, 2010


BigSky Well, there's also the fact that the matador chooses to become a professional torturer of animals and accepts the (small) risk that an animal may one day get the best of him. The bull does not, in fact, choose to be tortured to death.

Why should I have sympathy for a torturer who had the misfortune to be injured by the righteous anger of his victim? I do, of course, but that's because I'm a bleeding heart liberal and all squishy about any human suffering.

But at the same time, while feeling sympathy for the injured matadors, I also feel that they had it coming. Just because they suffer doesn't make them less bad people.

Ideally the number of bullfighting injuries would be zero, because the entire evil "sport" would be outlawed.
posted by sotonohito at 1:12 PM on June 3, 2010


The people who say they would pay to see a bullfighter killed would have had their money's worth when Gitanillo became delirious in the hot weather with the nerve pain. You could hear him in the street. It seemed a crime to keep him alive and he would have been much luckier to have died soon after the fight while he still had control of himself and still possessed his courage rather than to have gone through the progressive horror of physical and spiritual humiliation that the long enough continued bearing of unbearable pain produces.

All this, and I feel nothing for this man. Hemingway's an awesome writer, but fuck this guy. I simply don't care if someone who could torture an animal to death dies in a really terrible way.
posted by nevercalm at 1:14 PM on June 3, 2010


(Especially if it's a result of his attempt to torture an animal to death going wrong, btw.)
posted by nevercalm at 1:15 PM on June 3, 2010


I have no case for bullfighting or zoos. They're both anachronisms whose time has come. I also have no case for horse racing, polo, cockfighting, greyhound racing, fox hunting, coursing or my all-time favorite American past time: donkey basketball.

We still do that shit in the name of charity. Too bad for the donkeys that they have a bad rap, are easily bred and are unable to elicit human emotions like their fuzzy counterparts at the zoo, being sentenced to a life of ferrying a-holes across gymnasium floors in order to finance any number of inane activities.
posted by jsavimbi at 1:41 PM on June 3, 2010


zookeepers are better than bullfighters because they pretend to study captive animals

Jesus Christ. At this point continuing debate is useless because you're simply admitting to willful and absolute ignorance. You are demanding, stubbornly, that the difference between an institution set up to keep animals alive and an institution set up to kill them is irrelevant, and you have now embarrassingly run out of ways to stamp your feet over it.

My case against bullfighting is related to my opinion about recorded actions that I disagree with. Your case against zoos is claiming zoologists aren't real.

"Pretend to study?" Wow. I really don't know what else to say. Enjoy what you perceive as your amazing rhetorical achievement. I'm done with this thread and with you.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 1:42 PM on June 3, 2010 [5 favorites]


Up until right now, did you think they threw the bulls away?

Right. I get it now. Bullfighting isn't about the torture and killing of animals for public spectacle. It's about feeding people.

My mistake.
posted by cjets at 1:52 PM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


My mistake.

No worries. Just letting you know that people do actually eat the bull meat. In the towns, they usually keep the slaughtered female cows of the bullfighting variety and it's served up as a stew a few days after the festivities are over at a town gathering where everyone shares in it along with cheap red wine. I used to get really shitfaced at those.

Small towns will generally contract with a butcher to dismember the bull ringside and then sell the meat separately, thus giving the town a chance to make money back on the bulls but the larger, permanent bull rings wil generally donate the meat to a particular charity.
posted by jsavimbi at 2:19 PM on June 3, 2010


It must be a long time since you've been to a zoo, jsavimbi. These days, they're pretty much set up as vehicles for indoctrination with the ideals of responsible environmental stewardship. They're remarkably effective, too, as children are too simple-minded to understand why we go to the zoo and coo over the adorable baby elephant who was just born and then go home and eat cow.
posted by palliser at 2:52 PM on June 3, 2010


It must be a long time since you've been to a zoo, jsavimbi.

About two months ago I walked from Cambridge to the Blue Hill Observatory and back. Along the way I saw the gnu minding the gate at the Franklin Park Zoo and the vultures they keep at the base of the observatory, to, you know, educate kids about why we need to keep savannah animals outdoors on a cold New England day. Please explain the purpose of submitting a living creature to such an undignified existence.

Nope, I don't care how you dress them up and try to sell the gringo altruism. Those zoos are enterprises that depend on the size and rarity of the specimens in their collection to make money in order to stay in business and keep their safari-clad employees happy and interested in working with a variety of exotic species. What were once the overgrown stables of royalty and later cheap family getaways have become centers for academic competition, all under the guise of a greater good and at the expense of an animal's freedom.

To be honest, I love watching wild animal shows and I always thought Jacques Cousteau, Felix Rodriguez de la Fuente and Steve Irwin did a lot more to bring an interest in animals to kids and adults alike than any shameful zoo or circus could, so I don't mind telling zoologists that if they like studying things, they should make like archeologists and go out and find them, study them in the field and leave them be. It serves no benefit to bring them back and display them in cages just so you can tell a roomful of third graders that snakes have legs.

Looks like the bullfighting has been derailed.
posted by jsavimbi at 4:00 PM on June 3, 2010


None of that takes away from the savage twenty minutes they spend in the ring, a barbaric custom who's time has passed, but if given the chance of putting up a fight or being herded into a slaughter house, I'd rather the former. It's a stupid statement to make, given that a bull doesn't get to choose, but I'd rather be cheered on as I'm going out. But that's just me.

Yes, it is a truly stupid statement, jsavimbi. Why on earth would you bother bringing up your personal desire for "glory", when considering ethical treatment of a bovine?

BTW, they aren't cheering the bull on. That's actually illegal. Just so you know: the cheers are for the matadors.
posted by IAmBroom at 6:21 PM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm still very conflicted about corridas, but Hemingway's book Death in the Afternoon was a terrific exploration of the spectacle of the bullfight. (He called it spectacle, not sport.)
posted by adoarns at 8:44 PM on June 3, 2010


Damnit, from the pictures it looked kind of like he got gored through the stomach and all the way out the mouth. Oh well, maybe someday a bull "fighter" will get that kind of comeuppance
posted by tehloki at 9:24 PM on June 3, 2010


BTW, they aren't cheering the bull on. That's actually illegal. Just so you know: the cheers are for the matadors.

I'm going to favorite that one. In ten years of lurking MeFi, I don't think I've ever read something so bizarre.
posted by jsavimbi at 8:04 AM on June 4, 2010


Thank you, jsavimbi.
posted by IAmBroom at 9:09 PM on June 6, 2010


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