Tue. Jul 16th, 2019

A veterinarian and a biologist, against the myths of modern bullfighting | Blog The bull, by the horns

A veterinarian and a biologist, against the myths of modern bullfighting | Blog The bull, by the horns


"A manifesto against immobility; some suggestions so that the fight improves and reaches a greater degree of perfection, without undermining its essence ".

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This could be the telegraphic objective of the document entitled 'How would the fight adapt to the 21st century?', Winner of the XXX International Literary-Bullfighting Prize Doctor Zumel, of which the veterinarian Julio Fernández Sanz and the biologist Fernando Gil Cabrera are authors.

"The celebration of the bulls will continue to make sense if it adapts to today's society," explains the first of them in conversation with this newspaper. "Bullfighting is stagnant," he insists, "even though the fight has not stopped evolving since it was created." "We propose measures to be discussed by the culture authorities and bullfighting professionals, and we believe that everyone should be aware that the world has changed at a dizzying pace and requires responses to avoid the loss of the public in the face of a routine, foreseeable spectacle. Lacking risk and emotion. "

The authors propose 31 measures that directly affect the fight, the preliminaries of the same, the necessary tools and prizes, for which they believe that it would be necessary to modify and unify the dispersed bullfighting norm, which today is concentrated in a national regulation and five autonomous regions (Navarre, Basque Country, Andalusia, Castilla y León and Aragón).

"The volume of blood lost by the bull during the fight is very small"

The work ensures, in the first place, that the blood and the agony of the bull are elements that produce rejection in the new fans, and from there all their proposal of change departs.

"The volume of blood lost by the bull during the fight is very small," says Julio Fernández. "The amount is less, proportionally, than that offered by a human being in a voluntary donation."

The veterinarian and the biologist have performed 1,349 blood tests in the last five years to investigate different parameters of the behavior of the bulls, and their first conclusion is that none of the 700 animals analyzed showed signs of heavy bleeding.

Julio Fernández, veterinarian, next to the Plaza de Las Ventas.
Julio Fernández, veterinarian, next to the Plaza de Las Ventas.

A slightly chopped bull loses between 2.5 and 3.8 percent of its total volume, and another very chopped between 6.4 and 7.6, while a person of 75 kilos of weight donates 9 percent of his blood.

"The problem," Fernandez concludes, "is that the hemoglobin is not transparent, and his vision is very cumbersome and produces rejection, but the amount is so small that it could be suppressed."

- Suppress the blood in the bullfighting show?

- Yes. It is possible if the puya is reduced, so that only a cut in the skin of the animal is produced. We propose to change its current form to a quadrangular pyramid of four edges, with which the bull would not bleed practically nothing.

- But it is said that the loss of blood tempers the bull ...

- There lies the error. The temper of the bull is not a consequence of the puyazos that it receives, but of the energy and strength that it consumes in its encounters with the horse of pica.

"The swords are badly made"

With this proposal, the authors intend to banish three current myths in current bullfighting:

- The hemorrhage does not bring any benefit to the fight.

- A front puyazo does not favor the humiliation of the bull in the crutch, which is only produced by anatomy and selection.

- The temper is not a consequence of the loss of blood, but of strength.

The death -or the agony of the bull- is the other disturbing element of the show that Julio Fernández and Fernando Gil intend to modify.

"The swords are badly made", affirms the first one, "and with small changes the death will take place in a shorter space of time".

The authors propose that it be wider, with a rounded tip and a longer sharp length, which would section vital structures and produce death before.

"The current rapier only has the first fifteen or twenty centimeters of the 88 that it measures from the hilt to the tip," Fernandez explains, "but the vital structures are closer to the skin -the hilt-, and that's why lunges that seem deadly do not achieve the desired effect because they touch organ, but they do not cut them. "

This change does not affect the letter of the regulations, but despite its foreseeable success has not penetrated among the bullfighters "because they have a lot of faith in their swords, and most do not understand everything that is related to science," says Julio Fernández.

The most outstanding exception is the right-hander Emilio de Justo, who has incorporated this novelty to his tools, and with the new sword got the two perfect volapiés that opened the Big Door of Sales in the last Autumn Fair.

The banderillas, the descabello, the lace, the bib and even the dictionary of the Royal Academy must adapt to the new society, according to the authors.

"The RAE says that the action of dealing is to" deceive the bull bypassing its attacks according to the rules of bullfighting until death ", an imprecise definition in our opinion, because the fight consists of provoking the bull's attack so that the bullfighter direct with the intention of creating an artistic work, following the rules of bullfighting, action that ends with the death or pardon of the animal ", underlines Julio Fernández.

The vet adds that all his research aims for the bull to regain the prominence it deserves, for the luck of rods to be more balanced and offer more spectacle, find more effective and safe tools, shorten the dead times of the fight, reduce missed encounters in the supreme luck, standardize the regulations and modernize the bullfighting language.

- And the bull? How is the bull today?

- There are several and it is complicated to define it. In general, it is the most adapted to the fight in all history. The one that least jumps into the alley, goes to the horse more times and lasts longer on the crutch.

- A laboratory product ...

- It is artisanal genetic engineering.

- Is the bull still a wild animal?

- In a way, yes. It is an undomesticated pet that retains the wild instinct lost in the rest of the cattle. And it is doubly dangerous because a beast flees before pain, but the bull grows in the face of punishment.

- And the suffering?

- In my opinion, bulls with high doses of endorphins have no sign of suffering throughout the fight. The greater amount depends on the selection and the bravery.

The key to the final success of the award-winning document is the attitude of the authorities and the sector in the face of this avalanche of changes.

- There is a clear division of opinions among professionals. We also presented it to the Ministry of Culture when the PP was in office and the reception was not good. They told us that it was not interesting because there was no consensus in the sector, and they were very worried about the anti-bullfighting reaction.

- So…?

- This is a spectacle of emotions in which the bull has lost prominence. The change is essential to keep the party alive.

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