They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?
By Vern & Lori Geiger and Eliana Herrerías
Approx. 45,000 horses are killed in Mexico each year; however, it is estimated more than 250,000 bulls worldwide are killed every year in the bull arena. Countless horses are killed or injured. Often times the number of horses killed during a fight is higher.
A common practice is to blindfold the horse so it cannot see; the reason the horse is blindfolded is so it does not see the bull charging and therefore does not try to run away in panic, which contributes to the suffering. Since the horse cannot see the bull, the heavy impact appears from nowhere without warning. They must trust the horseman (“picador”) to keep him safe; the ultimate act of betrayal. More often than not the bull disembowels the horse. Other common practices are to stuff the horse’s ears with cotton to prevent them from panicking, and many times their vocal cords are cut to prevent them from screaming in pain as the bull gores them. How much lower can the human race sink?
The purpose of the picador is to stab the bull just behind the mound of muscle on the fighting bull’s neck, weakening the neck muscles and leading to the animal’s first loss of blood. The manner in which the bull charges the horse provides important clues to the matador about which side the bull favors. If the picador is successful, the bull will hold its head and horns lower during the following stages of the fight. This ultimately enables the matador to perform the killing thrust later in the performance. This encounter with the picador often fundamentally alters the behavior of a bull, and the bull becomes distracted as it tries to focus on a single target.
Sometimes the horse wears some padding, but in reality, it does little to protect the horse, but rather serves to hide the serious injuries from the spectators. Once a horse is mortally wounded, it is dragged from the arena, and most times is inhumanely put down out of view of the patrons. While the bull is destined to die, the fate of the horses is not much better.
The matador is not even man enough to face an uninjured bull; rather, one that is already seriously wounded and weak from blood loss. Promoters claim the bulls are aggressive and fearless but they are only fighting for their life. In the last 50 years, only 10 matadors have been officially documented as having been killed in the ring. By the time the picadors have finished debilitating the bull, my grandmother could put the poor animal out of its misery. Matadors are not macho, they are malignant.
Horse lovers who would like a heavy plastic sign 1/4 meter in size, or bumper stickers free of charge, (one per person) contact Lakeside Wildlife 765-4916 References: http://www.iwab.org/ArticlesEng.html: Eliana Herrerías