“On the road to holidays… and bullfights”
(Spanish-style bullfights = corridas de toros)
Pen and marker on paper, 2017
© Eric Bourdon
This drawing was inspired by the contrast between the awareness campaigns against the abandonment of pets on the roads to holidays, carried out by the animal welfare associations, and the festive torture of other animals, supported by the law and mostly funded by public money.
Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. While empathy is stimulated on one side, it is reduced to nothingness on the other. Even more, one encourages not only to stay passive, but also to take a positive pleasure in the spectacle of another’s suffering.
The following are extracts from the 2008 International Anti-bullfighting Conference Conclusions, a report published by Asociación Defensa Derechos Animal (ADDA) in Barcelona, and World Animal Protection (previously WSPA) in London. Especially relevant, these extracts are about “empathy” :
The central debate
Bullfights generate a process of insensitivity and the absence of empathy in the spectators. Outstanding thinkers, theologians, scientists, and authors such as : St. Thomas Aquinas, Immanuel Kant, Josep Plá, and even Ernest Hemingway left a record of this negative psychological process. […]
Empathy is a quality which is developed by means of social consciousness. Consequently, more policies must be implemented in the family, academic, audiovisual and mass media spheres which promote attitudes of respect and recognition not just for people but also for animals.
Bullfights have a negative influence on education and prejudice moral learning. Our moral learning plays a role in our relationship with animals. If we learn to mistreat animals then we learn that mistreatment is correct behaviour whereas if we learn to respect animals, then we are sensitive to their pain and we understand their needs; in general, it develops our capacity for empathy, compassion, and responsibility.
The bullfights in Catalonia and the rest of Spain have had a very negative influence on the progress and approval of legislation in favour of the protection of animals […]