Friday, July 13, 2007

They Shoot Horses, Don't They?

Flashback Friday Post

We were watching some show the other night where they were filming a bullfight. The toreador swirled his cape, danced around gracefully, enticing the bull to charge him. Then he plunged in a pick, holding another ready in his other hand. The blood flowed. I turned my eyes away. "I hate bull fights" I said. They are always offered as an option for tourists visiting Mexico. Never for me. Never. "I hate them. I know they are a tradition in Mexico, but I hate that they kill the bull".

Tom's head snapped to the side when I said that. "What? They kill them? I didn't know they killed the bull." He, like many other Americans, thought bull fights were just the matador dancing with the bull, playing with him, entertaining the crowd. No. They kill them. That's what they do. The bull never leaves the ring alive once he enters it. He is dragged out.

When we were in Cancun a few years ago, the group we were with was transported to a rodeo. I hate rodeos. Long ago, rodeos were about real cowboys taming real broncs, riding real wild bulls. Even though some kindness would have been a better way to tame broncs, at least it was real. Modern day rodeos are just an exhibition of cruelty to animals. Have you ever been to one? Have you ever noticed that strap around the horse's hindquarters? That's called a "buck strap" and it forces them to buck because they are trying desperately to get it off.

I didn't want to go because, not only were we going to a rodeo, we were going to a rodeo in Mexico and I dreaded what we might see. But it was a work-related outing and we didn't have a choice. I reasoned that it was for tourists and probably wouldn't be bad.

Everyone filed into the seats and rodeo began. It really wasn't bad until one of the "wild mustangs" - actually some underfed, ungroomed small horses - were ridden into the enclosure. The horse was frantic and began bucking frenziedly. He was so hysterical that he came down on one hoof wrong and, with a loud snap everyone in the audience could hear, his leg broke.

The rider jumped off and they led him out of the enclosure, limping. His leg was dangling crookedly. The audience was quiet. A minute later, a voice came over the intercom, assuring us that the horse would be fine, they had a vet on staff, he would be fine, they would take care of it. Everyone in the audience heaved a sigh of relief. Except me.

I knew very well they would not shoot that horse until everyone was gone. Even the naive Americans would know what it meant if they heard a shot. They would wait until we were gone. And the shot would sound. And the little horse would fall.

I still think about that horse, limping out of the ring with his broken leg dangling.

It is a memory I would love to erase.


Lucy's Mom said...

I hate bullfights and rodeos for the exact same reasons. Especially bull fights, the whole concept is just so awful. Your story makes my heart ache. Unfortunately, this kind of story and many others, detail with great specificity exactly how horribly man treats the other creatures that share this planet with him. We are vicious creatures. As you know, only man kills for "pleasure" or "fun". All other creatures kill for need. It doesn't speak very highly of us as a species. Being a SciFi fan, I sometimes wonder, if people from other planets came to visit us here on Earth, what in the world would they think of our brutal, casual, unthinking, killing and cruelty to our fellow creatures?? I think they would report back to Star Fleet Command that we are a very backward and savage planet and we should be left alone for a few thousand more years of evolution.

Boo said...

I didn't realize they killed the bull either...I now hate bull fights and rodeos too!!! :(