Thanks to people willing to take action — like one of our heroines, Brigitte Bardot — cruelty to animals can and must be stopped wherever you find it. She has become a leading advocate for an end to one of the most spectacular and longest standing examples of torturing animals for entertainment – bullfighting.
Because of the growing sentiment against bullfighting, this ancient entertainment is gradually disappearing. The picture below has been circulating all over the internet for several years. But it’s not quite what it appears to be…
This picture has moved thousands of people to stop the cruel practice of bullfighting. It circulates on the internet and Facebook, and credits Álvaro Múnera Builes as the matador who despairs at the agony of the dying bull and as the author of these words. The truth is a little more complicated.
Known around the world as “the vegetarian matador,” at 17 years old, Álvaro Múnera won an international tournament in his home country of Colombia. “The less you move, the greater the risk.” He stayed very still and was awarded the top prize for his bravery. He became known as “El Pilarico,” and was invited to continue his career in Spain. When only 18 years old in September 1984, he was thrown into the air by a powerful bull. When he landed, the bull gored him again, severing his spine and rendering him paraplegic for life. Now an activist for animal rights and disabled people, he speaks out against the practice of bullfighting.
It’s a wonderful story, isn’t it? But it’s a hoax.
Múnera’s biography is true. To this day, he is in a wheelchair. He does work to end the practice. An eloquent and moving audio interview is posted on the internet done by Radio Netherlands Worldwide (RNW, October 2011). As one commentator wrote: “Have a listen. he’s a human being just like you and me. not bombastic, simply telling his story.” Go to: http://www.rnw.nl/english/article/vegetarian-bullfighter.
He recounts meeting an elderly woman who said, “I’m really happy to see you in a wheelchair. You are a barbarian. You are cruel. And you don’t deserve to ever walk again.” He realized that “It is unethical to torture and kill animals for entertainment.” He remains haunted by dreams of bulls he has killed and says, “I hope they will forgive me for the wrongs I have done.”
“A picture is worth a thousand words,” says the Chinese proverb. When is it right for a hoax to continue? Perhaps, as in this case, when it helps bring awareness.
The photograph is actually of an exhausted matador, Francisco Javier Sánchez Vara, simply taking a break while waiting for the bull to collapse. The words come from an article by the author Antonio Gala Velasco in the Spanish newspaper El País in 1995. Alexander Fiske-Harrison, author of Into the Arena, The World of the Spanish Bullfight blogged about this misinformation in July and once again the photo is circulating widely on Facebook. For the true story, see “This Photo is Not What It Seems” on http://fiskeharrison.wordpress.com/2012/07/25/this-photo-is-not-what-it-seems/.
Things are changing in Spain and throughout the world. PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) UK has an online petition to Spain’s government which asks, “Please heed the 72 per cent of Spaniards who have no interest in bullfighting and would prefer their beloved country to be seen as a compassionate place that respects the lives of all its inhabitants.”
The Spanish animal rights group “Prou!” (Catalan for “Enough”) collected 180,000 signatures asking the Catalonia Parliament to end the practice. In September 2011 in a packed arena in Barcelona, Catalonia ended its 700 year history with the last bullfight in that state.
If you agree as we do that bullfighting should be stopped, sign it here:
By Teviot Fairservis.
In Los Angeles, California, more than 10 years ago, we produced a 30-minute “infomercial” television show called “A Lifetime of Beauty.” It was aired in all the big cities of the U.S. including Boston, New York, Miami, Seattle, San Francisco and Houston. The show promoted the newest product which our company pioneered — the first natural AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) cosmetic product in the world.
The novelty was that these special products called “GlycoFruit” contained acids from the rhubarb plant that naturally sloughs-off old skin cells to reveal clear and fresh-looking skin. So how did it happen that this product became featured in a 30-minute television show?
GlycoFruit became a hit in a few stores in San Francisco and our best-selling product ever in the history of Paul Penders Co. It was also advertised in several natural lifestyle magazines around the country. The advertisements got the attention of a few Hollywood celebrities and soon their agencies started to contact us.
To make a long story short, soon afterwards Katja and I were invited to Hollywood to visit several movie stars wanting to discuss a business deal about this new GlycoFruit product. According to them, GlycoFruit would make for a perfect 30-minute infomercial product to be shown nationwide on television!
Dr. Joni Laughran while working in our company in California wrote a book for the show, also with the same name, “A Lifetime of Beauty.” The book was a give-away for people who called the Paul Penders Company enquiring about our newest beauty invention.
Honestly, Katja and I had a blast meeting these movie stars at their homes. I can say this was a very interesting tour, and we got to meet several popular stars over a few days.
After meeting these celebrities and their Entertainment Lawyers, I finally signed contracts with 2 stars; the most important one was Meredith MacRae (May 30, 1944 – July 14, 2000), best known as Billie Jo on the TV sitcoms, Petticoat Junction and as Sally Ann in My Three Sons.
Several weeks after the signing ceremony, we started shooting in the studio of Jay Leno’s “Tonight Show.” It was a time of learning, fun and excitement. During the shooting days, got to know Meredith better. She turned out to be a charming, intelligent and very kind person with a healthy amount of humor!
Part of the filming for the show was in Hollywood and part at our company’s base in Petaluma in Northern California. Meredith, her agent and a crew of beauticians all flew out to Petaluma for the shoot at Paul Penders Company.
We had dinner with the group the night before filming and then became it apparent how much she looked like Catherine Deneuve, the beautiful and distinguished French movie star I admired so much as well. Probably too it was that which attracted Katja and me to Meredith in the first place.
Since I am talking movie stars, there is another movie star I REALLY admire and have since a young age — Brigitte Bardot. I fell for her because of a few great movies with producer Roger Vadim, and later because she became a fierce fighter for animal rights.
To this day, Brigitte Bardot’s focus in life is to end the suffering of animals. A little while ago we wrote about the vote in Catalonia, Spain making bull fighting illegal this year. Let me mention that Brigitte Bardot’s latest fight is to stop the bull fighting in the South of France where it is still legally practiced.
She was interviewed not long ago by “France Dimanche” and told the reporter, “My life would have been worthless if changes are not made to stop bullfights in France before I die. But I am like a pit bull; when I start biting, I don’t let go easily”.
- Thank you, Dame Bardot, for being a
living example for me by helping
to set the standards to stop
cruelty to animals!
Finally, and a “Grandioso Bravo!!!” to Catalonia’s parliament who had the guts to vote to ban bullfighting from 1st of January 2012 becoming the first region in Spain to act against this century old cruelty and total madness.
Of course, the move was watched across Spain. The motion tightens Catalonia’s animal protection law and the vote came after strong animal rights activists that have been tiredless campaigning for long time to end these terrible events. “Prou” (or “Enough” in the Catalonian language) collected some 200,000 signatures calling for the assembly to decide on the ban with 68 votes in favor and 55 against.
Many supporters and opponents of bullfighting gathered outside of the assembly during the lawmakers debate and vote. “Stop Animal Cruelty” read the signs of the anti-bullfighting crowd while those in favor of the practice said “Bulls Yes, Freedom Yes”.
We at Paul Penders hope that the Catalonia’s animal protecting law sets an example for the entire country and for the entire world to stop unnecessary, barbaric “sports” (or shows some call them) involving innocent animals being taken advantage of just for profit without though of their wellbeing and their rights (!) and can be exploited by anyone. .
In God’s name….
please stop the cruelty of innocent animals.
In God’s name…..
take people in stead but ask them permission first what can’t be done in the case of animals! For that it is cruel and total barbaric behaviour.
Hats off for Catalonia !!