February 28, 2021

Bullfighting, facing its future: a federation, a strategy, a ‘lobby’ … | Blog The bull, by the horns


Will there be bulls in 2021? It’s supposed to be like that. Well, the problem is over. The season will be regularized as the pandemic recedes; in a few months, the party will regain its rhythm, and the nightmare suffered will become a bad memory. Unfortunately, some will have been left behind, as is often the case in all crises, but normalcy will soon return.

Here is a fantasy, an illusion that all fans would like to see come true. And the dream (perhaps, the full conviction) of the majority of bullfighters: that the storm will soon subside and everything will be as before.

But that is not reality; at least, it is not what events past and present presage.

Do not forget that bullfighting is a patient of the pandemic with serious previous pathologies; She has been admitted to the ICU for a long time, intubated, face down, with assisted ventilation; although, happily, he has given signs of life with a few bullfights and a bunch of bullfighters who have been able to do the paseo. But the damage remains, and although he can go upstairs this season or, better yet, even if he is discharged, he needs rehabilitation, medical care, and, above all, he will be forced to make a drastic change of life to stay on his feet.

This is the problem. The bullfighting of January 2021 is not at all like that of a year ago, which already suffered serious ailments.

The silent hibernation of bullfighters, one of the great problems

For this reason, it is surprising, strange (and it must be very worrying) the silence that surrounds the world of the bull at this time. The minuscule season ended, the few suits that wore in the sun were hung up, the cold arrived, the sector has disappeared and the bullfighting people have entered hibernation as if nothing had happened.

Nothing is certainly known about how the new season will develop, but it is clear that bullfighting faces the year 2021, at least, with its chronic problems and other no less dangerous that have been added.

And the bullfighting, in retreat. Perhaps this is what things are, the greatest danger of the bullfight at this time.

On December 6, the businessman and attorney Alberto García, defended in this blog the urgent need for a structure that defends and promotes bullfighting; a private entity, financed by all the protagonists, a federation with the capacity to undertake professional affairs of all kinds, to demand compliance with regulations, sanction the irresponsible and represent the sector before public administrations.

Alberto García’s proposal is the reviled ‘self-regulation’ which, according to the current circumstances, is, perhaps, the only valid exit for the party.

Demonstration of bullfighters in the Huelva bullring.
Demonstration of bullfighters in the Huelva bullring. Efe

The unity of the sector – this is still a chimera – is an absolutely essential objective to face the immediate future; and the fruit of it must be the creation of a lobby, in any of its forms, so that bullfighting is defended and promoted on all fronts.

If not, if the bullfighting people do not rise up as one voice to defend this tradition that has become a cultural heritage, the bullfighting festival will soon disappear. And that bad omen is from Alberto García himself.

Because it is not that bullfighting celebrations can be organized.

The question is another: what is the health of the party after the crisis of 2020? What support do you have? What is the bullfighting plan to revitalize and defend it? What do the fans think? Are the same posters going to be made ten years ago? With the same bullfighters and the same bulls? What plans can be put in place for the public to return to the squares? Will the return of the bulls to public television be required or not? Will the public owners of places continue to be allowed to make a killing with abusive specifications? Will it be argued that bullfighting is a cultural industry and that, as such, it should have its fair reflection in the General State Budgets? Will fraud in all its forms be prosecuted and will bullfighters, businessmen and ranchers who stain the name of the sector be punished? Will the integration of bullfighting in the society of the XXI century be attempted? Will the sewers that make bullfighting so dirty be cleaned? Will it be possible to undertake a total renovation so that it is possible to present a new, attractive and exciting party?

The unity of the sector, essential so that the party can be defended and promoted

At this point, the bullfighting sector should already have that defined strategy to tackle the future without the uncertainty that it plans on the nearest horizon.

And, above all, it should have an organization that would serve as the foundation, promotion and defense of the bullfighting festival.

Because the enemies and the self-conscious friends are still there; the first, on the prowl, and the others, in profile.

Presumably, the Toro de Lidia Foundation will have viewed the audiovisual produced by the Ministry of Culture in which it takes stock of 2020 activities. Not a single mention of bullfighting. Do your employers still trust the good will of the minister?

The Government has not yet admitted that bullfighters are artists in public shows. What are you waiting for if it is recognized in a current decree of 1985?

A few days ago, the general director of Animal Rights, Sergio García Torres, published an article in a digital medium in which he criticized Eneko Andueza without naming him for his book ‘Los toros, desde lattered’, and shows a worrying lack of information, or an inordinate desire to manipulate reality, or, perhaps, a new form of ironic humor or, simply, bad faith. He presents himself as the grandson and great-grandson of bailiffs, but assures that “bullfighting has always been a spectacle of access and benefit of an elite”; that it is “a business of lords of the court; gentlemen who live off public money from the different administrations, because if they depended on ticket sales, it would have long since disappeared ”; he quotes Curro Romero, “known for his great races in front of the bull and his somersaults over the barrier”, and finally states that “bullfighting is the representation of male control over nature.”

Remember that Sergio García is not only anti-bullfighting, despite his good rope, but also occupies a high public position, and any day his vote can be decisive to eradicate bullfighting in this country.

The personal testimony of this politician would suffice for the bullfighting party to design a roadmap that would serve as a retaining wall against these attacks.

But it is already known that the matter is much more serious; It is as serious as it is worrying that the sector is in a period of hibernation, as if the pandemic and the previous pathologies of the party had not taught anything.

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