Animals need protection

Catholic Courier    |    01.28.2010
Category: Letters to the Editor

To the editor:

A nightmarish festival, known as Toro Jubilo, was recently held in Soria, Spain. Street mobs attached balls of burning pitch to the horns of bulls, scorching their horns, bodies and eyes. Many bulls try to end their agony by smashing into walls.

Other animals are also abused during patron saints' celebrations. Live goats are tossed from towers; chickens are beheaded by blindfolded children. Some of these atrocities occur on church property.

Bullfighting remains a popular "sport" in Spain. This involves smearing petroleum jelly in bull’s eyes, stabbing them and, when they have fallen but are still conscious, cutting off their ears, hooves and tails. Horses, used to draw attacks from the bulls, are often mutilated.

In parts of Spain it is common to kill greyhounds who did not race well by hanging them by their necks over a fire.

Because the Roman Catholic Church wields a lot of power in Spain, animal protection advocates are disappointed that the Vatican has not joined our efforts to end ritualized torture of animals in Spain.

In 1567, Pope Pius V threatened excommunication for violating his decree forbidding support of and participation in animal torture fiestas or bullfighting. Certainly, a 21st century Pope should follow this example.

Clergy of all religious and denominations have a responsibility to remind their parishioners that humans are not the only species worthy of moral consideration. Our spiritual leaders, to whom we look for guidance and righteousness, should convey the message conveyed by U.S. Senator Robert Byrd: "Let us not fail in our divine mission. Let us strive to be good stewards and not defile God’s creatures or ourselves by tolerating unnecessary, abhorrent and repulsive cruelty."

Joel Freedman
Canandaigua

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