A most egregious abuse of trust.

Here is what is perhaps the most abusive thing one can do to a horse, in full view of hundreds of people, and not be arrested.

This is a picador. His job is to weaken the bull before the bull ever meets the matador. 

I copied this picture from Wikipedia, as well as the following:

“The picador has three main functions:

  1. To pierce the muscle on the back of the bull’s neck in order to straighten the bull’s charge.
  2. To fatigue the bull’s neck muscles and general stamina as it tries to lift the horse with its head.
  3. To lower the bull’s head in preparation for the next stage.”

Number one is a bald faced lie. Yes, you ‘straighten the charge’. You also make it so that the bull cannot turn his head. He cannot turn without turning his head. You’ve neatly removed all but a straight line attack, and disables much of his agility and speed. He can’t horn as well. 

But it’s not the sole reason. By slicing through the muscle on the back of the bull’s neck, you effectively disable his most powerful weapon. It’s akin to cutting someone’s Achilles tendon and then challenging him to a footrace. It’s CHEATING.  You are cutting out that powerful neck muscle, the one he uses to fight with, raise and lower his head, manipulate his horns. 

It’s meant  to stack the deck in favor of the sissy in tights who is the last actor for the bull.

It also draws a lot of blood. By the time the bull meets the matador, he’s been bleeding, heavily, from six or seven gaily ribboned spears, in his neck,  for a while.

It’s also a warm day, and he’s been out in the sun for a while, being chased around, run around, to speed up the loss of blood. And notice that the matador isn’t running. Oh, no. He’s posturing like an overdressed pimp, waving a red blankie, walking a few steps at most. The bull is doing all the work. 

“To lower the bull’s head in preparation for the next stage.” Wow, this sounds so neat, so clinical, so clean. It sounds like he’s having a wart removed.  The matador is supposed to kill the bull with the sword by thrusting it through that massive neck muscle. Properly done, it severs the spinal cord and the bull drops, dead as a hammer.

But it seldom is that neat and pretty. It takes a lot of training, a lot of hurt bulls, before you can hit that spot just right. Let’s not forget that, in the ring, the spot is easily seen. You think those bulls are black by accident? No. They’re bred that way. Arterial blood shows up quite nicely on a wet, black hide. If the matador misses the spot, he withdraws the sword and tries again. Sometimes he does manage to hit the spinal cord, but only nicks it, and then the bull drops, now paralyzed, but still hurting. Still suffering. Those matadors don’t win the ears and the tail. They get another chance.

When a matador goes into a ring, it’s to chalk up another win. It’s to learn how to do something better. It’s to achieve glory. He may not kill a bull today. If he doesn’t, he goes home to dinner and a shower, and lives to fight another day.

When the bull enters the ring, it’s like he’s been transported to another planet. He was injected with a steroid, which is increasing his unreasonable rage.  He’s never been on a truck or a trailer in his life. He’s never seen an arena, never heard such noise, never been hurt, or even handled much, by humans. There’s too much new, too much strange, for a simple minded creature like a bull, to take in all at once. He’s never given the chance to stop and think.

The bull never leaves the ring alive.

A good matador wasn’t always that way. He’s botched killing a bull many times.  I saw a video on TV where the bull is standing, exhausted, within inches of the matador. Head down, he is oblivious to all but the fact that he is dying. From his mouth pours a mix of blood and saliva. It joins the puddle of blood (in hot, dry sand, mind you) that is pouring from his back. The picadors were a bit too heavyhanded with their spears. The bull is dying in front of your eyes. There is no fight in him. But the matador does not possess an ounce of compassion for his animal opponent. He is angry, because he didn’t defeat the bull. He fought it to a draw, mostly because the bull is out of blood and energy.  He cannot give the bull the honor of a quick, merciful sword thrust. The matador has lost face. The bull must pay. Again. One more time. The matador arrogantly taps the bull on the nose, with the butt of the sword. Up, mighty Toro! We must have a photo that gives at least the appearance that I defeated you through expertise, rather than attrition!  

 The bull didn’t move. He was begging for death.  Disgusted, the matador shoved the sword in almost as an afterthought, with a body language expletive. It was as dramatic as watching a man squash a bug. The bull dropped, kicking and thrashing, then lay still. Anticlimatic? Yeah. The crowd booed. The bull, they said, was a coward. 

So I say, if the bullfighter was a REAL man, they’d fight fair.

Why not REALLY fight the bull? Why not put him in the ring, unmarked, unmedicated, unstabbed, no blood letting, no open wounds in the neck to make it easy for the sword’s thrust, and let that courageous little dude with the blankie and the spangled tights have a go at him?

Well, the bull would probably keep his head up, where he could see. He’d see a guy with a red blankie, but he probably wouldn’t be bothered. He probably wouldn’t fight at all, just look for a way out. And there are pictures..I have one, somewhere…where a bull did just that. He LEAPED out of the ring, straight up what, ten feet? Right into the bleachers, (which was a shock to the people in them, I can tell you) ran to the end, jumped down  to the ground and tried to escape.

He didn’t. 

Basically, a bull-fight is a rigged sham. The bull doesn’t have a chance. They take away his weapons, they create a hole for the sword that is very conveniently blood-red on a black hide, they bleed him to death, they chase him around and make him use up all his energy, all so that a guy can kill him, seemingly with one blow. It’s even worse…he teases the bull first. Extends the torment, seeing how close the bull comes to the matador’s body without actually touching him. 

Sometimes, though, the bull does manage to get a lick in. There’s a certain satisfaction in seeing a doomed bull gore a matador.  His efforts to kill his tormentor are seldom as effective than if he’d not been bled half to death and his muscles disabled. He’s suddenly besieged by humans, horses, and other distractions. It’s telling that matadors that are gored don’t  always die. In fact, they usually go on to fight again. What a testament to their machismo, their courage? Shit.

 A truly uninjured bull would never allow that. Once he got a horn in, he’d shove the matador around the arena until the horn tip would go through the other side. Or else he’d pick the matador up, waving him about on his horn like a scalp. But no, the bull is so weakened that his getting a horn in is merely…well, luck.

If you want to see what a truly unpleasant death by bovine can be, talk to folks who’ve witnessed Cape buffaloes killing people. Their horns are on the SIDES of their heads, not pointing forwards like Bos taurus. They like to hook their enemy and toss him. Sometimes they merely pin the enemy to the ground with their horn and then crush him into the earth with that huge boss of horn.  Most of the time, Cape buffalo leave people alone unless someone shoots them. Then they get pissed. They’re big, fast, and intelligent. They hold a grudge.

A fighting bull would horn his enemy the same way…stab and lift. That’s how they fight each other.  That’s precisely why the bulls have their neck muscles ”’weakened’.

Effectively, the bull enters the ring with both hands (sic) tied behind his back, weakened, bewildered, but stung to fury by artificial means. HE has nothing to fight with but courage, and true machismo. That’s all they leave him.

So now we know how I feel about bull fighting in general. But as this is a horse related blog, here is where the title comes in.

Look at the horse in the above picture. The horse is BLINDFOLDED. Were he to see that bull coming at him, he’d run like hell, hellish bit or no.

But no. This is a crime even worse than slowly slaughtering a bull through torture. No, this horse TRUSTS the human on his back. Does YOUR horse let you ride him when he’s blindfolded? Hell, you’ve probably never blindfolded a horse. I never have. I wouldn’t know how. This horse allows himself to be blindfolded, obediently goes where he’s reined, canters, trots, whatever, all without seeing a thing. Isn’t that trust of the most precious sort? Wouldn’t you just LOVE to have a horse that trusts you that much? What more precious thing can a horse GIVE you? And yet, the horse, while blind, isn’t unaware of what’s going on around him.  He can still smell the bull. He can smell its blood.  He can hear it, hear the crowd,  feel the aura that surrounds him and every other thing there. Suddenly he’s hammered on the side by an unseen battering ram, one with sharp horns. 

Read number 2 again. To weaken the muscles as the bull tries to lift the horse with his head.

This is a GOOD THING??? It’s OKAY to allow your horse to be lifted by a bull? Why not just run him through with a forklift if you want to lift the horse? But forklifts are not pretty.

 For a picture of a horse that was wounded by the bull, go to Google Images. There’s a picture of a downed picador horse. Just look,  don’t click, because it’s a bad website. It will try to install malware on your computer. Trust me. 

The rider, the human he trusted, instead of allowing the horse to retreat, begins stabbing the bull with spears, making him even more angry. The horse takes the brunt. Sometimes the die. Oh, darn, just a horse. Just a bull.

These folks are cruel. They murder a bull, and abuse the horses. If there was ever a more egregious abuse of trust…of a horse’s trust in a human…I’d be hard pressed to find it.  

This isn’t sport. It’s not even fair. Its blood and guts, modern world.

I am not impressed by the man in the ”’suit of lights’. Put him in the ring with the sword and the blanket. Put a bull in there, unharmed, unmedicated, unbloodied. Then have at it.


About subodai213

Retired U.N.C.L.E agent. Living in Laurasia.
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One Response to A most egregious abuse of trust.

  1. chris says:

    Michelle, I could hardly bear to read this because this kind of abuse of animals makes me so angry and frustrated. You dare to spell out just how cruel and cowardly this “sport” is, as are shameful practices in so many other fields, yet they continues to be allowed in the name of tradition. Catalonia took a stand and made bullfighting illegal last year, but it still goes on in the deep south of France as in most of the rest of Spain.
    If men want to prove their machismo against a “dumb” animal, maybe they should go back to bull leaping as practised in ancient Crete, whereby they take the bull by the horns and vault/somersault over its back!
    For anyone who understands even a little French, I recommend listening to Francis Cabrel’s “La Corrida” on YouTube, which recounts the bullfight from the bull’s point of view. I defy you to remain unmoved!

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