A few days ago, somebody I follow on Facebook posted a link to an article on bullfighting in the LA Times. A matador was seriously injured by a bull and is recovering from surgery. There was no mention in the article of what happened to the bull; I am assuming that if the bull was healthy enough to keep using, he is still alive somewhere.
As I casually read through the FB comments -- many, understandably, along the lines of "serves him right!" -- I ran across one that said, "Damn! He should have died. That impotent animal abuser."
Now, I *really* think that bullfighting is a grotesque sport. When I was a student in Spain, in 1988, this was a heated topic, with many young Spaniards agreeing that the sport should go. We talked about it often and I, along with most of the Americans in my student group, chose not to go to a bullfight even though it is arguably something that is distinctly Spanish.
I didn't like bullfighting then and I don't now.
However, I do not think it's appropriate to wish that a bullfighter had died.
I said as much in the thread.
The responses I got were fascinating -- much in the same way that a train wreck is fascinating. You can't stop looking because it's all so unbelievable.
""Normally I agree one shouldn't wish somebody to die, but with bullfighters I make an exception..."
"Given all the bulls this guy has tortured and killed, his death would be a blessing for animals. Better luck next time."
"When this animal is bleeding to death from his injuries he is either left to die or they kill him...When the bull loses, he gets nothing...but when the man loses, he gets medical care and love. Mess with a bull and you get..the horns! It seems more than "low" to wish this man alive to hurt more animals! More than "naive" to think he will ever change! You keep waiting...I will fight for animal rights!"
I replied to this last charge -- that because I don't want a man to die, it must (implicitly) mean that I don't fight for animal rights. I do. Anybody who follows me (my personal page) on Facebook knows that I cross-post listings of animals needing homes, that I follow PETA and the Humane Society, and that I sign petitions to save whales, wild horses, elephants, etc. I *do* care about animals; the quality of their lives matters!
The response? A sarcastic, "That's wonderful that you don't wish for him to die. Kudos to you!"
Am I crazy to think that animal rights activists who publicly wish for the death of people they dislike might just have a hard time bringing more people to their cause? Is it so hard to understand that this man is a product of his culture -- just as we ALL are products of our cultures? Is it hard to understand that, in his case, he receives tremendous glory for his perceived bravery? In fact, now that he has survived, he will probably be even more glorified. Yes, he may continue to fight bulls. And yes, I think that's wrong.
Animal rights activists would do well to continue their work without wishing that the people making bad or immoral choices should die. To do otherwise is, well, inhumane.
- My interests include veganism and vegetarianism, health, ethics, politics and culture, media, and the environment. I have three kids; I teach college part-time, study piano and attempt to garden. I knit. I blog on just about anything, but many posts are related to my somewhat pathetic quest to eat better, be more mindful of the environment, and be a more responsible news consumer. Sometimes I write about parenting, but, like so many Mommy bloggers, my kids have recently told me not to. :) Thanks for reading.