Letter to the Editor
Congratulations on printing Lori Geiger’s article on bullfighting. It is time bull-fighting be discussed and described for what it is – inhumane slaughter. Reasons for not condemning it are immediately put forward by those who would defend it, saying it is culture, tradition, does not promote violence, is a sport, a source of employment for many Mexicans and in short the bull should die in the plaza because that is what he was bred for. Furthermore one is a visitor in the country and should respect the beliefs and traditions of the people and treat them like the sacred cows they are.
In fact, not one of these arguments is valid. Recently at a peaceful anti-bullfighting demonstration on Colima’s main square, organized by young Mexicans from Colima, some ten pro-bullfighting arguments were debunked one by one. Their arguments are difficult to refute, for instance the ones that address bullfighting as tradition, art and culture. They state that no tradition justifies the perpetuation of violence and torture, bullfighting is not contemplated in any fine arts classification and no artistic action can be exempt from ethical responsibility. Art is representation, the corrida is execution. (See their website www.sin-violencia.org.mx. ) Of course Picasso and Hemingway are immediately cited as having been artists who lauded the fiesta brava as an art form. They might have been artists in their own right, but certainly were not known for their compassion or consideration of the rights of fellow beings.
It was further argued that only bulls and fighting cocks are not protected by general animal-protection laws in Mexico. There are separate laws governing the treatment of these poor unfortunates. Is cruelty not always cruelty independently of whether the victim is human or animal? Such arguments would not be necessary if there was integral respect for all living creatures. Unfortunately even today this still is not the case. Tourists to Mexico attend these events out of curiosity or because it’s the thing to do, without stopping to wonder why such ‘sport’ has been banned in their own countries. They only help to perpetuate what is after all big business, and that’s the bottom line.
Animals are thinking, feeling beings with emotions, memories and capable of acts of pure altruism. The fact that many people cannot appreciate this does not change the fact. They suffer the same way humans do. Why should this be acceptable? Many Mexicans feel this way, but do not voice their opinion because they are harassed, even receiving death threats. Posters protesting bull-fighting are quickly removed by lackeys. But animal protection groups throughout Mexico are speaking out and no longer accepting animal suffering as an irrefutable part of their culture.
People like you who are not afraid to speak out for animal rights will bring about the changes we need in awareness and thinking. And not just for animals, but humans too!
Lucille van Straaten
For more information about Lake Chapala visit: www.chapala.com