Going to a Bullfight demonstration was not something I ever expected I would be doing. I got up in the morning with a feeling that was a mixture of fear (of what I may see), pride that I was doing something that may make a difference in the future, and sickened that I was going to be so close to something that I hate and abhor and have pushed to the corners of my mind.
I set off with my two dear friends and for all of us this was a first time experience. On entering the Ricote valley in Murcia, I could only see beauty in the surroundings, the landscape is stunning but sadly for us it was overshadowed by the thought of what was going to take place later in the day. When we arrived in the village itself, it was buzzing with excitement, just like any fiesta day in a pretty Spanish country village. The villagers and the visitors from Murcia were dressed up in their Sunday best; lots of reds and purples, the colours they like to wear to signify a Bullfight. I still could not believe that anything awful was happening. Everyone was animated and happy, but it didn't feel right and I felt like an alien
We stopped by in a bar for a little Dutch courage and here my Spanish friend overheard insults about us. It was obvious we were not there for the bull fight; we must have been conspicuous in our protesting manner without even realizing it. I was starting to understand that many of these people were not particularly well educated and something which I believe is part of the problem. We talked to some Spanish men, who told us how for 4 years the bulls are treated like kings, so they are bred and cared for, only to be killed cruelly and without dignity!! How can this be justified, to be treated like a King and then cut down for people's blood lust and entertainment? It makes no sense and the excuse is that this is art and part of Spanish culture. It is significant to note that bull fighting is banned now in some of the more enlightened and well educated cities, such as Barcelona and Catalonia.
On arriving at the front of the bull ring, we were met by the other protesters. I strained my ears to hear what was being said by the leader and understood that he told us to stay peaceful and not be upset or drawn into challenging comments and insults. He talked to the Guardia who agreed to protect us. I felt quite afraid that we even needed protecting! We were only there to protest about the violence towards an innocent animal. It is the bulls that needed protecting not us surely??? I must admit that after my initial fears, I felt very safe as the Guardia genuinely seemed to care about us.
Once we started I was infused with the enthusiasm of the protestors. These young people stood their ground and bravely chanted to the crowd. At one point a woman and her 5 children turned back and it was very emotional as we cheered and clapped and cried and the lady thanked us and nodded gratefully. Our chant at that moment was, "Is this how you educate your children?"
My biggest shock was that some of the children in the bullring took great delight in taunting us and shouting to us each time a bull died. I would have given anything to have talked to those children's parents and ask them if they were proud of the way they were bringing up their children. In contrast I comforted one of the youngest activists there, 16yr old Laura who was absolutely distraught. I told her she was special and enlightened and that her generation when they are my age will hopefully not see any more spectacles of cruelty such as this and that she should be proud to be so brave and making a difference.
I truly believe that there will be a change as there were many people outside the bullring who looked disgusted and listened intently to us; in fact strangely enough they seemed more interested in us than what was happening inside the bullring. There were many insults to us, which were proudly responded to with intelligence and integrity. Although at the beginning I felt a sense of energy and enthusiasm for the cause, at the end I felt a sense of depression and despair. The emotions of the activists went from strong and valiant to sad and defeated; not because they had lost, but because of the sad and cruel death of 6 proud strong creatures. It was a sad day...
No Al Matrato de Animales, helped me to understand more about the many cruelties to animals in Spain and more about the bullfighting culture. Why does Bullfighting still continue in the modern world? Why it is so necessary to get it stopped?
I had my first introduction to a demonstration, an anti-Bullfight demo and it definitely will not be my last. Come on Spain! This is the modern world. Torture of an innocent animal is not the way to educate your children.