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Wednesday, 27 April 2011

France grants bullfighting cultural heritage status

Think bullfighting, think Spain - right?

Well not quite. The controversial blood sport is also popular in parts of southern France.

And France has become the first country in the world to recognise bullfighting as part of its cultural heritage.

A bull and a raseteur at the 75th Cocarde d'Or, Arles, France 2006, from Wikipedia, author JialiangGao

As the French daily Libération reports on Friday the ministry of culture announced that bullfighting had been "identified as an 'intangible cultural heritage' giving it the same status as tarte tatin (an upside-down apple tart), fest-noz (a traditional Breton night festival), Aubusson tapestry and Grasse perfumers."

Its inclusion comes as part of France's obligation as a signatory to the 2003 Unesco Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.

But as the ministry also stressed the decision did not constitute "any form of protection, promotion or special moral bond" and "there was no intention to propose bullfighting for inclusion on Unesco's Intangible Heritage list," as had been the case for French gastronomy which was awarded that status last year.

But opponents of bullfighting were quick to condemn the announcement.

"Frankly I find the decision appalling," Claire Starozinski, the founder and president of l'Alliance anti-corrida, told the regional daily Midi Libre.

"At first I wondered how a ministry in a country which promotes 'enlightenment' could also encourage such a barbaric tradition," she continued.

"On reflection though I don't see it as protecting bullfighting, but if we're ready to give intangible cultural heritage status to popular movements then why not also include rave parties?"

Others critics were less measured in their obvious disgust; among them the former actress, model and singer and not animal rights activist, Brigitte Bardot.

"Including bullfighting on the list of France's cultural heritage is a huge mistake (Bardot used stronger language)," she wrote in an open letter to the minister of culture Frédéric Mitterand on the Brigitte Bardot Foundation website.

"I'm shocked because such a bloody and barbaric activity has nothing to do with French culture," she said.

The news came on the eve of opening of the five-day Féria De Los Ninos in the southern city of Arles.

And locals seemed delighted at the move.

"Bullfighting is part of our tradition and out heritage," Alain Lartigue, organiser of the festival told BFM TV.

"We don't want in any way to 'oblige' people to come to watch bullfighting but simply to respect the liberty of those who do want to come to do so."



A bloodsport of historic, economic and cultural importance or a barbaric, shameful and contemptible activity? French singer-songwriter Francis Cabrel sums it up best perhaps in his 1994 song La corrida.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

There is absolutely nothing cultural about cruelty to animals. I would just call it barbaric.

Michel Michaeljohn said...

DISGRACEFUL...
Bullfighting: It's not ART; it's not CULTURE; it's TORTURE (ask the MAJORITY of the people in the bullfighting countries of Spain; Portugal; France; Mexico; Colombia; Ecuador; Guatemala; Peru and Venezuela that are working on, and passing NATIONAL BANS and ABOLITION of bullfights).

Bullfighting: The most indefensible type of animal abuse.

Bullfighting is not a fight at all, but a systematic torture-killing that pits a gang of armed thugs wielding razor-sharp barbed spikes, spears, swords and daggers (these weapons are designed to inflict intense pain and cause massive blood loss to weaken the animal) against a lone, terrified; confused; fatally disabled and wounded animal.

It’s a sickening economic industry based on HORRIFYING victimization; sadistic abuse; extreme cruelty and mutilation and torture of bulls (and horses) during the cruel exhibitions of bullfights (which are barbaric "blood" fiestas): Close-up Horror of Bullfighting (Graphic) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xvwQ4Dmlur8

Handlers weaken and cripple the bull for days before the bullfight. They starve him; give him laxatives and deny him water, or they put massive doses of sulphates (epsom salts) in his water to induce severe diarrhea, intestinal pain and subsequent lack of coordination in the ring. He is beaten with heavy sandbags on his back and kidneys. The bull is wedged into a tiny corral and drugged to make it docile. Up to four inches of horn is hacked off with a saw down to the tender quick to interfere with his ability to navigate; the mutilated stump rounded off with a rasp and smeared with black grease.

They blind and drug him; they stuff his ears so that he cannot hear; they stuff his nostrils so that he cannot breath. Thick needles have been pushed into the bull's testicles before he enter the ring, and In the ring, they drive razor-sharp lances and harpoons into his back and neck muscles so he can’t lift his head. By the time the matador appears, the bull is weak from blood loss and dizzy from being chased in circles.

The horses used in bullfights are old and drugged. Wet newspaper is stuffed in their ears so that they will not hear the approaching bull and run away; their vocal cords are cut so the audience will not hear their cries. They wear long blankets to hide their entrails, which spill out when they are gored and disemboweled by the tortured; agonizing bull (who has been deceived into thinking that the horse is causing his pain, instead of the "wicked human" riding the horse).

It’s no fun to see an innocent, crazed animal tortured before a screaming crowd of people, who should be hanging their heads in shame. Even if you leave after 15 to 20 minutes, the damage has been done – your money has gone to support this hellish, satanic business, which "decent people" are working to "end."

The continuation of bullfighting depends on government subsidies and to an even GREATER EXTENT, the IGNORANT "TOURIST" industry.

Don’t be an accomplice to this savagery by supporting it with your "tourist dollars."

Help these "suffering" animals – STAY AWAY FROM BULLFIGHTS; speak out against them and DEMAND that they be ABOLISHED.

Michel Michaeljohn (of Spanish-descent); California; United States.

Michel Michaeljohn said...

"Thank You" for the post: "France grants bullfighting cultural heritage status."

Michel Michaeljohn (of Spanish-descent); California; United States.

Anonymous said...

So now killing an animal counts as part of French cultural heritage.! What next?

Anonymous said...

I read elsewhere on the web that it was 'Unesco honoring' French bullfighting. But this seems to say that it is the French rather than Unesco that have taken the decision. It is not the same thing. Thank you for clearing it up.

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