Friday, December 22, 2006

Ole! Fighting bullfighting

Cristina Narbona, Spain's environment minister, has stepped on one of the Spanish sporting fraternity's most politically correct toes. She wants to end stabbing bulls to death as public spectacle. She has suggested matadors in Spain's bullrings do the Portuguese thing and let the poor brutes live to be killed humanely after the fight.

Predictably, Spanish bullfighting aficionados are up in arms. "The minister's aim is to kill off the bullfight," claims one matador. "This just shows the interventionist, totalitarian instincts of the government," raged a conservative senator. Even the leader of the communist-led United Left coalition got into the act, accusing the minister of importing "Anglo-Saxon prejudices" into Spanish culture.

But the minister has her supporters. The United Left coalition's parliamentary spokeswoman, Joan Herrera, disagreed with her leader and welcomed the proposal to end a "savage and atavistic tradition." Consuelo Polo of Ecologists in Action called for "an end to the macabre spectacle of people sitting down in a bullring to watch someone repeatedly stab a living animal."

Perhaps action to end the "macabre spectacle" won't be necessary, anyway, as it may, unlike the bull, simply die a natural death. Barcelona's last bullring is about to close for lack of fans, another is being turned into a shopping mall.

Now ... as to rodeo.


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