Bogota Matadors have gone on hunger strike in protest that bullfighting has been banned in the Columbian capital since 2012.
The hugely controversial bloodsport has long divided public opinion.
Wherever a bull is weakened and tired by lances, short spears, and barbs before being finally put out of its misery with a single sword thrust, or whenever a bullfighter is gored or trampled by a beast tortured and teased in the name of entertainment, controversy follows soon after.
Animal protesters see red at the very mention, never mind spectacle of bull fighting, but defenders of a matador’s right to ‘dance’ with the bull to the death, argue that it is a culturally important tradition which can be elevated to an art form.
Two years ago in Bogota, Mayor Gustavo Petro thought otherwise and outlawed the blood sport, to the delight of some and the fury of others.
However, Columbia’s Constitutional Court are due to rule on wether or not to legalize bullfighting at Bogota’s La Samtamaria Plaza.
To sway their opinion a handful of Bogota matadors have made the rather unusual step of going on hunger strike in a desperate bid to bring back bullfighting
EuroSport News reported that one of the eight hunger strikers had to be hospitalized after growing weak from the liquid diet, but his fellow matadors in arms have vowed to continue the protest until their right to fight and kill bulls is reinstated.
Following his election in late 2011, Mayor Petro decided that the La Santamaria would no longer host bull fighting, but only pop concerts instead.
The matadors were furious and believed the music loving mayor was out for their blood.
One of the hunger strikers snarled:
“The man has marginalized us. Here, everyone looks at us like we’re the scum of the earth.”
Bullfighting can be traced back to ancient days and lives on in many cultures who regard it as a spectacular contest between man and beast.
The King of Spain once allegedly said that the day the European Union bans bullfighting is the day Spain leaves the EU.
In this so-called civilized age, it appears strange that crowds of people will pay money and take great delight in watching one lone and terrified creature getting hacked to death in front of a baying and barbaric mob who have no compassion or sympathy for the creature’s plight.
On www.stopbullfighting.org.uk, they seek to dispel the myths surrounding bullfighting and argue:
“The bull is not an aggressive animal, and the reason he is angry and attempts to charge at the matador whilst in the bullring is mainly because he has been horrendously abused for the previous two days.
“In fact, what spectators see is not a normal, healthy bull, but a weakened, half-blinded and mentally destroyed version, whose chances of harming his tormentors is virtually nil. The bull has wet newspapers stuffed into his ears; vaseline is rubbed into his eyes to blur his vision; cotton is stuffed up his nostrils to cut off his respiration and a needle is stuck into his genitals. Also, a strong caustic solution is rubbed onto his legs which throws him off balance.
“This also keeps him from lying down on the ground. In addition to this, drugs are administered to pep him up or slow him down, and strong laxatives are added to his feed to further incapacitate him. He is kept in a dark box for a couple of days before he faces the ring: the purpose of this is to disorientate him. When he is let out of the box, he runs desperately towards the light at the end of the tunnel. He thinks that at last his suffering is over and he is being set free — instead, he runs into the bullring to face his killers and a jeering mob.”
What do you think. Should the Bogota matadors be left to starve themselves to death, or should bullfighting be legalized once again so the bullfighters can practice their ‘art?’