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Disney’s new movie Ferdinand has been highly anticipated by animal lovers.
Twentieth Century Fox – which made the film – teamed up with an animal sanctuary in order to give a ‘real life’ Ferdinand a safe home for his whole life.
Ellie Laks, Founder of The Gentle Barn, where Ferdinand was homed, said: “The Gentle Barn is a place of healing, where children learn that even though we might look different on the outside, we’re all the same on the inside.
“The Story of Ferdinand is so important because it represents the universal idea that each one of us deserves a chance to be who we really are.”
But the film did not show animals in the way I was expecting.
It had some scenes in it (especially toward the beginning) that portrayed male bulls in such a damaging way, that I think that any potential benefit that might have been gained by some of the later scenes in the movie were lost as a result.
Bullfighting is pure torture for these male bulls.
But the movie Ferdinand, through much of the movie, falsely portrays these bulls as looking forward to it, and as competing with one another to be the bull who will be selected for it.
These scenes in the movie were so upsetting to watch.
Not only is this portrayal inaccurate, but it serves to minimize the horrors of bullfighting (and perpetuates a damaging stereotype about bulls as being aggressive animals).
One could make the counter-argument that this is just a children’s movie, and that it’s not real.
However, I do feel very strongly that these scenes in the movie could have a very damaging effect on the subconscious minds of the children (and of the adults) who view them, since (and I know that there will be many people who disagree with me on this point) I think that this movie (due to the harmful subconscious effects) might promote the practice of bullfighting.
And I readily admit that I could be completely incorrect in seeing it like that.
But to try to put this view into perspective: imagine that there was a children’s movie made in which rather than the bulls being eager and excited about the idea of participating in a bullfight, these same male bulls were portrayed as being eager and excited, and competing with one another, to be the bulls who would be selected to go to a slaughterhouse.
I think that in this case, it would be easier to see how damaging such a movie (were it to be made) could be.
And even some of the ending scenes in the movie didn’t feel right to me, specifically, the scenes that showed the crowd of people who were attending the bullfight.
There was something about those scenes that seemed to glamorize bullfighting as some sort of innocuous spectator sport, despite the ending of it being that the people in the audience changed their mind, deciding that they wanted Ferdinand to live, rather than be killed by the matador.
I didn’t get the sense from the way this movie was portrayed that the audience wanted to see an end to all bullfighting.
It seemed more that the people in the audience had simply taken a liking to this one particular bull (Ferdinand), but that they would have no problem seeing other (less charismatic) bulls be killed.
As animal right charity PETA writes: “Every year, thousands of bulls are barbarically slaughtered in bullrings around the world.
“Over the centuries, bullfighters have found countless ways to rig the ‘fight’ in their favor. Bulls have been weakened with drugs or by having sandbags dropped on their backs.
“Their horns have been shaved to keep them off balance, or petroleum jelly has been rubbed into their eyes to impair their vision.”
After the bull enters the ring, he will approached by men on horses who drive lances into his back and neck muscles.
PETA says: “This attack impairs his ability to lift his head and defend himself. The picadors twist and gouge the lances to ensure significant blood loss.
“Then banderilleros enter on foot, distract the bull, and dart around him while plunging banderillas – brightly colored sticks with a harpoon point on the end – into his back.”
Once the bull has become weakened from blood loss, the banderilleros run him in circles until he becomes dizzy and stops chasing them, finally the matador stabs him.
PETA says: “A few minutes later, another bull enters the arena, and the sadistic cycle starts again.”
Is this an activity modern films should really portray as anything other than sadistic and cruel?
This PETA video,Bullfighting in 60 Seconds Flat, has more information.