Bullfighting – a blood sport that involves the goading and eventual killing of bulls for the sake of human entertainment – has increasingly come to be acknowledged as a cruel and barbaric practice in recent years, even in countries where it was once popular. The Spanish region of Catalonia, a former bullfighting stronghold, banned the practice back in 2011, and have recently proposed a bill that would prohibit the use of animals in circuses.
But here is a fact that all you Green Monsters out there may not be aware of: there is a bullfighting school called the California Academy of Tauromaquia in San Diego.
The school is now being challenged by animal rights campaigner Michelle Sibinovic, who has started an online petition to shut it down. On the campaign page, she says, “I find bullfights to be one of the most abhorrent displays of cruelty on earth. I am appalled to learn that there is a bullfighting training school right here in my home state of California!”
The owner, Coleman Cooney, told the International Business Times that the practice of bullfighting was a “glorious art,” inspiring creative geniuses such as Pablo Picasso and Ernest Hemingway.
He boasts that his academy is the “first school of instruction for Toreo in the United States,” and describes the “art” of bullfighting thus: “Grace, geometry, animal behaviour, mental discipline – all these things come together in la Tauromaquia.”
The academy is allowed to stay open because of a legal loophole in the California penal code. It is against the law to promote “any bullfight exhibition,” but Cooney gets around this by claiming that he is not promoting any event in particular, but rather, the practice of bullfighting as a whole. Live bullfighting is illegal, but Cooney points out that no animals are used at his San Diego facility. Instead, he and his students travel to ranches in Spain and Mexico when they wish to interact with live bulls.
Sibinovic – whose petition has garnered over 25,000 signatures to date – says, “I don’t consider (bullfighting) a skill, I consider it torture and cruelty. I think when more people learn about what he is doing here in Southern California, they’re going to speak loudly about it.”
The petition can be signed here, and Bob Filner, the Mayor of San Diego, can be contacted at [email protected], or by calling (619) 236-6330. Contact him to polity show your opposition to the area’s bullfighting school
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