“The crisis has come at the worst time for the bull fighting ranches. Our sector is seasonal and winter is a time of resistance. We were expecting the first financial income of spring, but everything has stopped. We do not know what will happen, but we will be very affected. ”
Victorino Martín, one of the most prestigious ranchers, and president of the Fundación del Toro de Lidia, speaks from the Coria pastureland, where his bulls graze. He comments on the difficulties that breeders face, and awaits the call of the Minister of Culture to negotiate measures that mitigate the serious consequences of the crisis for all professional bullfighting classes.
“It is logical, on the other hand, that the last thing allowed is the large concentrations of the public, which leads us to think that the crisis is taking us squarely and everywhere. Anyway, I am optimistic and I hope that everything has changed for the summer; I must be, because, otherwise, I would lose the calm ”.
Martín does not want to think that there are no bullfighting celebrations throughout the 2020 season. “I cannot think about it because a year and a half without income would ruin many ranchers, and other economic sectors would suffer, such as the hotel, restaurant or transport. Bullfighting is not only a source of wealth in itself, but also generates a great parallel activity ”.
“The average price of a brave bull for the slaughterhouse is 700 euros”
“Are you saying that farms would disappear?”
-“Of course. In fact, there are already ranchers who are sending bulls and cows to the slaughterhouse. “
Victorino Martín says that his litter for this year is 100 bulls, and if he does not fight “there will be a part of those animals that will be lost, he would have to reduce operating costs [la plantilla de la empresa la forman 18 personas] and ask for external financing; bulls that are five years old could not be dealt with next year and they would have to find another way out. “
“You mean the slaughterhouse?”
– “It is one of them, and depending on the weight, the average price of a brave bull for the slaughterhouse is 700 euros.”
The raising of an animal for the fight – the data is provided by the rancher – exceeds 5,000 euros throughout its life; and an adult bull consumes seven kilos of feed per day, which is almost three euros. “Only in food”, clarifies Victorino Martín, “without including labor or health care”.
The rancher also rejects a hypothetical regulatory amendment that would allow the fight of a bull with six years.
“It is not a good solution. It would cause a surplus of animals that would have to be added to those that are already chosen for the fight. They are bulls out of the market. And we must not forget the cost of their food and care for another year. “
—But it has always been said that a brave livestock is not a business…
– “In general, no, and it is usually supported by other activities, such as agriculture, tame cattle, pork … Brave livestock is not usually the main activity because it does not usually function as a business.”
“Has the time for reconversion arrived, then?”
“The Minister of Culture has been very clear: he will attend bullfighting”
– “It is true that more than 1,000 wild herds are many, but some are testimonial; others, very small and many that do not deal more than behind closed doors. However, the time has come for the reconversion of the entire society in general, and brave cattle farming will not be an exception ”.
On the other hand, Victorino Martín, president of the Fundación del Toro de Lidia, hopes that the promised meeting with the Minister of Culture will soon take place to analyze the situation in the sector and obtain government aid.
“The minister called us by phone and we are sure that he will attend us,” he explains. “It is the moment of good sense, of loyalty and of waiting. [José Manuel] Rodríguez Uribes has been very clear. He has said that he has to comply with the law and will attend bullfighting. We do not want to rush, and we will not take any action if we are not discriminated against. “
The bullfighting sector asks the government for two blocks of measures. The first, a plan to improve the decrees already published on the economy in general so that they reflect the specificity of bullfighting; and the other, a set of 17 sections on specific problems in the bullfighting world, such as a reduction in VAT, the revision of the professionals’ contribution criteria, promoting financing lines, exemption from tax charges, etc.
—Do you think that bullfighting are united to face a negotiation of this type?
-“I think so. The letter that we presented to the ministry was agreed by all sectors. Plus, it’s time for change. Difficult times are coming for everyone. ”
—You will also have to change the party…
-“Definitely. But we must start from the fact that it is the only cultural heritage that not only does not receive subsidies from the General Budgets, but also pays astronomical figures for renting state premises; and that the public media ignores it despite the fact that it is the second mass show in the country. It is clear that there will be a before and after of this pandemic, and the world of the bull will have to adapt to changes if it does not want to disappear. ”
“And all this, despite the anti-bullfighting current …
– “We have already said that the anti-bullfighting front is a very powerful industry, with brutal budgets, but logic must be imposed, and this says that as long as the Spanish want bulls, they must be respected. If the party is banned one day, society will have to reflect on whether to accept censorship and unique thinking, and for someone to tell us how we have to live, think and enjoy leisure. But, for the moment, we can only wait for the minister’s call ”.
Victorino Martín is convinced that the bullfighting festival will go ahead. At the moment, it keeps the quarantine in its farms in Coria, pending the effects of the pandemic and the telephone with the prefix of the Ministry of Culture.
“Finally, my state of mind is one of deep concern for the situation in the country, for the people who are dying or who are having a hard time,” he concludes; “I have family members at risk myself, like my 91-year-old mother or my wife, who has recently suffered a serious illness, but we also need calm to make the best decisions at these difficult times.”