Former matador reveals bullfighting's hidden horrors
24 July 2007
Paralysed bulls, bulls with tears in their eyes, a pregnant cow being slaughtered in a bullring. Matador turned anti-bullfight campaigner, Alvaro Munera, has revealed how the suffering bullfighting causes is even greater than you can imagine.
In an interview with the League Against Cruel Sports' Wildlife Guardian magazine, Mr Munera provided a disturbing account of the hidden horrors of the blood sport.
Asked what he witnessed that the public did not see, Mr Munera said: "Seeing a foetus taken out of a dead young cow that I killed in a bullfight during a festival, bulls that are killed behind closed doors get as many sword thrusts as they can resist in order to allow the bullfighter to train himself to use the sword; bulls that are paralysed when stabbed from a horse and need to be killed on the spot; bulls bleeding buckets of blood from the wound created by the lance; horses being drugged so as not to be frightened by the bulls; bulls with tears in their eyes, already stabbed with the sword in their bodies; bulls fighting for their lives; and the matadors that, to weaken the bull, stab them with a sword hidden under their cape at the bull's side."
Alvaro Munera's bullfighting ended in the 1980s when he was left paraplegic after a bullring goring. He says that it was while recovering from his injuries that he started to develop empathy for the bulls.
"When I was studying and going through rehabilitation, I lived for four years in the USA where I was treated as a criminal due to what I had done to bulls," he told the League's Jordi Casamitjana. "I was trying to defend bullfighting with the same old arguments but I was being ridiculed and defeated with the simplicity and strength of reason. Also, I began to understand the saying 'do not do to others what you do not want others to do to you.'"
Mr Munera is not alone in his anti-bullfighting views - over 90 per cent of his fellow Colombians don't like the activity, with 74 per cent wanting it banned.
"In July, there will be a bill to reform bullfights into bloodless events but the few bullfighting supporters left have a lot of political and economic power," he says, adding "the good thing is that the ex-bullfighting supporters and the anti-bullfighting activists are growing in numbers and young people are not interested in cruelty."
Bullfighting: More information