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© Animal Guardians & La Tortura no es Cultura
The Collective La Tortura No Es Cultura (Torture Is Not Culture), of which CAS International is part of, brings together 47 animal welfare organizations in Spain, along with Animal Guardians, an international organization with a presence in Europe, Latin America, the United States, and Asia. Together, these organizations have published a new video in which a 15-year-old minor, named C.O. by her initials (see source in Spanish), subjects the last of four calves killed during that event to atrocious suffering. The inherent cruelty of bullfighting is on full display here, compounded by C.O.’s lack of expertise as she repeatedly stabs the wounded and exhausted calf to death (minute 2:25, long video).
The video shows younger than 2-year-old calves being taunted and tortured at the hands of young and inexperienced students from the bullfighting schools of Navas del Rey, Madrid, and Guadalajara. In addition to C.O., another minor also participated in this disturbing display of violence (minute 1:41, long video); D.P., 17, killed his first animals in public when he was only 15 years old (see source).
Noteworthy is the number of minors who attended the event and witnessed this unprovoked violence against young animals. Their attendance negated the provisions of the Committee on the Rights of the Child wherein the United Nations, only last year, urged Spain to prohibit the participation of minors as bullfighters or spectators at bullfighting events. The U.N.’s recommendation was designed to prevent the harmful effects of such violence on children and to preclude the subsequent desensitization such violence breeds toward the suffering of animals, particularly those used for the sole purposes of entertainment.
Comments made by the children can be heard on the video and are also subtitled. It is important to note that a boy who is present during the skinning of the calf urges his father, “Dad, let’s go!” as he unsuccessfully attempts to leave the scene. Another child present for the skinning is heard saying, “He’s alive . . . And now they kill him . . . Now they kill him.”
The torture of the first calf is hard for anyone with even a shred of sensitivity to watch. A banderilla is nailed to the calf’s belly (see photo 1) and the female bullfighter later stabs the animal twice in the back with a sword, failing to immediately kill him. During a seemingly endless coup de grâce, the operator repeatedly stabs the animal’s nape with a knife. While the calf is still blinking, the child comments, “Now he is dead.” Then the animal’s ears are amputated and delivered to two much younger children as trophies, who are encouraged to carry them while they run around the ring with the so-called matador—herself a young woman who’s just tortured an animal to death.
Carmen Ibarlucea, President of the Collective La Tortura No Es Cultura, says:
“Tributes to women—as in this case, bullfighting—are a tradition to be extinguished. Patriarchal culture promotes violence and submission in parallel. Exhibiting minor women exerting violence against animals is not a way of promoting equality, and it contravenes the protection of children that Spain has signed to defend. We want to remind society that the feminist proposal is to create a society with new values where life is respected and where humanity finally achieves a fair balance between itself and the planet.” She adds: “Science has widely demonstrated, with various studies on the mind, that self-awareness and the capacity to feel is common to all mammals” (referring to the Cambridge Declaration of 2012 signed by prestigious neuroscientists, including Stephen Hawkins).
For her part, Marta Esteban Miñano, International Director of Animal Guardians and member of the Board of Directors of the Independent Council for the Protection of Children, says that these shows are carried out thanks to the support of the Regional Government of Castilla La Mancha, governed by the PSOE Socialist Party. This political bias and support of bullfighting schools and the promotion of related bullfighting activities is funded by the City Council of Esquivias, which is governed by the conservative Popular Party, and whose collaboration is shown on the poster of the event (see attached).
Marta adds: “Would we consider a form of entertainment to see boys and girls torturing dogs and cats, or even sheep? Why is it different with cattle? It clearly is not. Allowing children to torture and kill animals, causing them such great suffering, especially as a public spectacle, is aberrant from the point of view of their physical and mental integrity, eliminates their empathy towards the suffering of the other, and opens the door to other exceptions to violence—even if it only entertains them. Further, this encouragement to violence nullifies the rights of the child to live in a violent-free environment. We demand that the Spanish governement takes the pertinent measures to avoid this from happening again and to follow the guidelines of the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC), which Spain promised to uphold.”
Article 39 of the Spanish Constitution states that, “Children will enjoy the protection provided for in international agreements that ensure their rights.” Therefore, considering that Spain ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, it must follow the guidelines of its managing body, the CRC.
The organizations above have launched the campaign, Basta Becerradas, which urges citizens to sign a petition and write to the Spanish Embassy, calling for an end to these so-called calf-fights, as well as to prohibit the presence and participation of minors in bullfighting festivities.