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Animal welfare expert responds to owner who thinks it’s better for kids to watch bulls die than to see gay Pride

Animal welfare expert responds to owner who thinks it’s better for kids to watch bulls die than to see gay Pride

Matador and bull in Madrid

It’s the 21st century. It may seem as though I am stating the obvious. But apparently some people don’t realize. Centuries ago people would burn ‘witches’, attend bear baiting shows and publicly execute gay people. In this century we don’t do this anymore. Or do we?

Sadly there are parts of the world where all these things still happen. People refuse to progress and blindly reject the modern values civilization has developed.

One of these people is Carlos Zúñinga, co-owner of bullfighting company Circuitos Taurinos, who stated there was ‘no harm whatsoever’ in children being taken to bullfights but LGBTI Prides are ‘harmful for children to watch’.

I know people like him very well. As a native from Catalonia where bullfighting was historically common, and as an animal protection campaigner who has worked with the anti-bullfighting movement for many years, I have heard these sorts of statements many times.

‘The bull prefers to die a long death in the ring than a quick death in the abattoir.’ ‘Bulls are a different kind of animal because they feel pleasure instead of pain when stabbed by a sword.’ ‘Torturing an animal to death is a supreme form of art.’

I am not making this up. These are common claims from bullfighting industry.

For those fortunate enough to not know the truth about bullfighting, here is a short summary:

After three or five years in the fields (bulls naturally live up to 20 years), the animals are abruptly removed from their herds and face long, arduous journeys in suffocating heat to a bullring.

Once there, they are kept in terrifying isolation, confined in a small dark cell. Finally they are forced into the arena to be taunted and tortured by five to six people.

They are stabbed with lances, spikes, hooks, swords and daggers for 20 minutes or so. Depending on the country where this is happening, they are either brutally killed in front of a cheering crowd, or privately dispatched, back in their cell, a few hours or days later.

Then someone will write in a newspaper that what happened was a piece of art, and the perpetrators should be hailed as heroes.

Bullfighting is the glorification of torture – plain and simple.

But here is the good news: Bullfighting, which used to be very common, has now been banned in most countries.

There are only nine remaining countries where it is still allowed (Spain, France, Portugal, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Mexico and USA), and in many of these it has already been banned regionally or locally. For instance, in the Canary Islands and in Catalonia, two of the autonomous regions of Spain, is has already been banned (I was very much involved in the campaign that banned it in Catalonia in 2010).

The number of local councils banning this barbarity, or at least stopping subsidizing it, are increasing very rapidly.

While in most bullfighting countries children are allowed to be present at bullfights, there is a trend to ban this too, hence Zúñinga’s comments. International organizations including UNESCO are now sympathetic to this.

Witnessing a bullfight can lead to negative psychological effects on children. It can result in trauma, in the weakening of moral judgment, and desensitize them to violence.

On the other hand, children watching an LGBTI Pride parade are witnessing the celebration of the joy of boundless and honest love. It will make them more tolerant to diversity, enrich their moral judgment and reinforce their empathy to others.

These are just some of the many reasons IFAW chose to partner with Gay Star News and appear at the Pride festivals as we promote our messages of animal appreciation and protection.

LGBTI Pride parades belong to the 21st century. Bullfights do not!

Jordi Casamitjana is campaigns and enforcement manager at the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) in London, where he works on British wildlife issues including fox hunting and badger culls. He is a native of Catalonia and a leading expert on bullfighting.

Gay Star News partners with IFAW to promote animal welfare issues to the LGBTI world. Find out how to help here.