Spanish bullfight promoters will be heartened by the publicity given to Spain’s multi-million pound bullfight (July issue). British bullfight fans may he saved any inconvenience about attending bullfights. In a press Interview the founder of a British bullfight pressure group expressed the opinion that if he succeeded in staging a bullfight in Britain the result would be the “biggest black market in tickets ever”, if certain Spanish matadors did the slaughtering at £1,000 per bull.
The promotional activities of the group are appreciated by the official Spanish tourist authorities. The propagandists have given lectures on the “art” of bullfighting but they maintain a prudent silence abut the activities of matadors in abattoirs where they practise the “moment of truth (slaughtering with a sword).
The captive cattle endure repeated sword thrusts and take a long time to die while matadors perfect what Hemingway called a “virile art form”. The English matador who appeared with a Scottish GP driver’on a BBC TV programme has not mentioned this important part of his training.,
Spanish bull-farming vintners who entertain British journalists in Spain do not allow their guests to see matadors practising their swordwork in slaughterhouses. And also they do not explain to their guests that all bulls slaughtered by rejoneadores (horseback matadors) in Spanish bullrings have gone through the experience of being clamped in an apparatus while the painful operation of having their horns cut was performed. The shortened horns cut down the bull’s accuracy in using his only defence – his horns. This cowardly operation destroys his sense of distance.
A taurine (bullfight) writer described the preparation of a bull for the horn cutting operation: “It has to be immobilised first with ropes and pulleys and a team of men playing it to a standstill.”
Cardross, Mrs. M. W. WATKINS
(If by publishing this letter, prompted by D.S.J.’s comments that he used to find it fascinating to watch men “dicing with death” in the Spanish bull ring, I am labelled as one of those sentimental British animal-lovers, I shall not mind, if this in anyway alleviates the suffering of the bulls, which is pretty horrific if Mrs. Watkins, who say, she is not associated with any Anti Bullfight Organisation, is correct. Her views are backed up by cuttings from British, Austrian and, more significantly, Spanish papers describing the cruelty and cowardness of bullfighting and of how the unfortunate bulls are “prepared” until they are unable to defend themselves. It seems that this was either unknown, or accepted, by those who allowed a bullfight demonstration to be staged at the Horse of the Year Show at Wembley in 1960. There seems every reason to oppose the Corrida coining to Britain, although D.S.J. may call me a softie for saying so. I have always Maintained that not only is motor-racing the finest “sport” of all but that it has the merit of involving only humans, not animals, in the pursuit of it -for it is difficult to be convinced that an element of cruelty does not enter into horse-racing, steeplechasing, showjumping, etc. and no doubt at all that it is inseparable from the bullfight. Ed.)