As a sporting tradition that now only exists in eight countries around the world, bullfighting has steadily declined during recent years due to animal rights activists taking a stand against the cruelty and inhumanity they believe it represents.
In Colombia, these activists are fighting hard to abolish the tradition throughout the country and have been outside the Santa Maria Bullring confronting the hunger strikers and letting their point of view be heard.
“Bullfighting is a cruel show, a display of domination and torture. It is an old-fashioned show that doesn’t correspond with today’s morality. It is a business that only a few look to carry on to the detriment of the respect for life, and it is an act in defence of violence as a form of entertainment,” said Natalia Osorio, Director of animal rights organisation Animals Free From Torture (ALTO).
Natalia believes that bullfighting should not be reinstated because “a society that is transitioning towards peace cannot defend violence and cruelty as a form of entertainment.
“Bullfighting is a practise which has a savage background, and this has been one of the most representative elements in Colombian history and its time of violence, where the idea is that a dominator and a dominated exist. In terms of education it isn’t a good message, especially during a time when peace is being discussed.”
She also expressed some strong views on the hunger strikers themselves, saying that they are people who consider themselves as brave by “risking their lives.”
“(The strikers) say they are ‘hungry for bull’ and that if they can’t bullfight, it will ruin their dreams of ‘cutting ears’. It is important to understand that no profession can be justified when it causes systematic harm to another.”
|We never see an opera in which the actor is actually killed; they act the character’s death. In painting or film, everything is a representation. Bullfighting is not art. – Natalia Osorio, animal rights activist|
As for the argument that bullfighting is an art, Osorio was not convinced, saying that art is an aesthetic representation of reality.
“We never see an opera in which the actor is actually killed; they act the character’s death. In painting or film, everything is a representation. Bullfighting is not art.”
Dennisse Villamarin Rincon, another animal rights activist, took an even stronger stand:
“I think they are murderers and a disgrace to this world. Murder is not a form of art like they believe it is. The world is changing yet they remain in the past,” she said.
Moving on to the question of whether or not Petro is likely to give in to the hunger strikers’ demands, Carlos Alberto Crespo, from the Natural Resistance Foundation for Animals (REN), had this to say:
“We suggest that the bullfighters find a dignified job that doesn’t involve the disrespect of life. Bogota Humana can create a work substitution scheme, like they did with the carretilleros (people that used horses as a form of transport around the city who were given vans).
“Bogota Humana defends the life of animals, humans or non-humans, and if the bullfighters want to commit suicide there isn’t much that either the mayor or the public can do. It’s their decision.”
Some of the activists did lament the financial implications of prohibition for the bullfighters, including Maria del Pilar Romero. She said she “feels sorry about the loss of jobs,” but that she doesn’t agree with the line of work.
“Taking another’s life is not only cruel, but unjust,” she said.
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