The Mary T. and
Frank L. Hoffman
Letters and Responses
I am a United Church minister, a college professor, and for thirty years a leader of educational-cultural tours to Europe. A favorite destination has always been Provence, yet I am now so appalled by what is happening in Provence that I have cancelled all future tours to that enchanted paradise. In Provence a sickening form of “entertainment” is being promoted as a tourist attraction.
The most sadistic of forms of entertainments, bull-fighting was born in Spain at about the same time as the Inquisition. This cruelty has engulfed Portugal and Latin America, Southern France, and is presently being introduced in China. In Provence, however, thousands of citizens are fighting back; and it is in Provence that animal lovers take their stand.
There is no “fight” in a bull-fight: it is nothing but the ritual torture of a defenseless animal. A bull is rendered harmless before he enters the arena. If his horns are long, they are sawn off and artificial horns are welded to the bleeding stumps. If his muscles are powerful, they are injected with relaxants. His eyes are smeared with petroleum jelly. A large metal nail is stabbed deep into his back just before he is thrust into his Hell.
In the arena, the bewildered bull is butchered. Barbed spikes are pushed six inches deep within his shoulders muscles so that he cannot hold his neck erect. Six large harpoons are thrust into his neck, each carrying a heavy banner which forces open the wounds and tears both shoulder and neck muscles. When the bull tries to defend himself, a swarm of tormentors tease, tire, and confuse him. This torture must last ten minutes as the bull’s muscles rupture. He bellows in pain; a bloody froth comes from his mouth. Often he sinks to his knees in surrender, yet he is pulled to his feet. His agony must continue.
The matador finally enters and is acclaimed as a brave hero. In fact, he is a sadistic fraud. (The odds are 33,500 to 1 against his even being hurt.) His “adversary” is now a gravely injured animal, frightened, bleeding, with shoulder and neck muscles so torn that he can no longer keep his head high.
The matador drapes a red cape over a wooden frame. Holding this with his left hand, he takes a sword in his right hand. He taunts the exhausted animal into charging; each time the bull passes, the sword is plunged behind his neck, severing more muscle and tissue. This cruelty continues continues for another ten or fifteen minutes. Eventually, the victim head droops helplessly and the back of the neck is fully exposed. The brutal entertainer takes a shorter sword and dispatches the creature, supposedly with one thrust; in truth, it often takes many horrible thrusts as the bull cries in agony; (the record number of thrusts for a botched killing is thirty-four!) The sword is wiped off on the bull as it lies twitching in the dust. The body is pulled away; the crowd roars its pleasure; and the arena is prepared for the next victim. (Six bulls are tortured to death at every bull-fight!)
This disgusting barbarism must be stopped, but what can a human individual do?
(1) If you are on a tour of Provence, (or Spain, Portugal, or Latin America), never under any circumstance attend a bull-fight. This sadism is kept alive through tourists who are persuaded that “just once” they should experience the horror. Better yet, refuse to visit countries or districts within countries which permit this sadism. (If you do boycott an area, write the tourist board in that area so that the authorities will know that this barbarism is costing them money and reputation!)
(2) Clip this item, photocopy it, and mail copies to any of your friends and acquaintances who travel to Provence, Spain, Portugal, or Latin America.
(3) Write the Provençal government and tourist board indicating that you and your friends will never travel to Provence while such cruelty continues. If you wish, contact me at (807) 345-3257, or at 159 Bentwood Drive, Thunder Bay, ON, P7A 7A7, and I shall provide you with addresses and with suggestions of what might be written. (Statisticians reckon that each such letter represents the feelings of six hundred potential travellers. A stated intention to boycott carries much weight, especially in Provence where 77% of the population opposes this most terrible entertainment.)
We can help the people of Provence put an end to this evil. If we care enough to act, this cruelty will be exposed and stopped, but our moral support is greatly needed. Please help.
Hugh R. L. MacDonald
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