Hunger-Striking Bullfighters Offered Job Retraining By PETA US
For Immediate Release:
21 August 2014
Ben Williamson +44 (0) 20 7837 6327, ext 229; BenW@peta.org.uk
Learning Non-Violent Trades Would Help Move Participants of Blood Sport Into the 21st Century
London – A group of novice bullfighters is on a hunger strike to try to pressure the Constitutional Court of Colombia to reinstate bloody bullfights at Bogotá's La Santamaría Plaza – but PETA US has just sent the Corporación Taurina de Bogotá, or the Bullfighters' Association of Bogotá, a letter offering to pay for the matadors to get training in particular non-violent areas of work.
In its letter, PETA US – whose motto reads, in part, that "animals are not ours to use for entertainment … or to abuse in any other way" – points out that working in one of a host of interesting, non-violent industries would help the bullfighters avoid universal derision and learn an honourable trade instead. PETA US suggests that since bullfighters are comfortable with death – having enjoyed spearing, stabbing and killing bulls – appropriate jobs might be funeral attendant, mortuary cosmetologist or graveyard security guard, or they could learn a harmless new skill, such as flower arrangement.
"[T]he bullfighters who are currently whining about losing their bloody trade have made their living by parading around in silly costumes tormenting bulls who have been weakened by beatings, had their horns shaved to keep them off balance or had petroleum jelly rubbed into their eyes to impair their vision", writes PETA US President Ingrid E Newkirk. "The barbaric and gory spectacle of bullfighting, which is so damaging to show children and so wrong in the minds of any kind person who abhors gratuitous cruelty, belongs in the history books, and the matadors belong in other employment."
For more information about bullfighting, please visit PETA.org.uk.
PETA US' letter to Felipe Negret, director of the Corporación Taurina de Bogotá, follows.
August 20, 2014
La Corporación Taurina de Bogotá
Dear Mr. Negret:
I am writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and our more than 3 million members and supporters worldwide to offer to help cover the cost of retraining Bogotá's bullfighters in suitable occupations, including the apprentices who are currently on a hunger strike. Since they are so comfortable with death, we suggest that they may do well in trades such as funeral attendant, mortuary cosmetologist, or graveyard security guard, or, if they are ready for a total change, florist.
As you know, the bullfighters who are currently whining about losing their bloody trade have made their living by parading around in silly costumes, and tormenting bulls who have been weakened by beatings, had their horns shaved to keep them off balance, or had petroleum jelly rubbed into their eyes to impair their vision. They have shown no mercy to disoriented, frightened animals and have caused them excruciating pain by driving lances into the animals' back and neck muscles, stabbing them repeatedly with a sword, and finally, when the bulls are reduced to a quivering mass, driving a dagger into their spinal cord.
Mayor Gustavo Petro is far from alone in his opposition to bullfighting. Worldwide condemnation of the blood sport continues to grow. According to a 2009 Gallup survey, 76 percent of Spaniards have no interest in attending or supporting bullfights. Ecuador banned bloody bullfights in 2011. In Spain, bullfighting has been banned in Catalonia and the Canary Islands as well as in Calonge, Tossa de Mar, Vilamacolum, and La Vajol. The Mexican state of Sonora and the city of Xalapa have also banned this violent practice.
Perhaps the understanding that bullfighting has been condemned worldwide will persuade these professional antiques to avoid universal derision and take up honorable jobs instead. Imagine if they were able to answer people—including their own children—who ask, "What did you do at work today?" without having to say, "I killed animals in an arena for bloodthirsty people to cheer."
The barbaric and gory spectacle of bullfighting, which is so damaging to show children and so wrong in the mind of any kind person who abhors gratuitous cruelty, belongs in the history books, and the matadors belong in other employment. Thank you for your consideration.
Very truly yours,
Ingrid E. Newkirk