“Blood­less” bull­fight­ing in Den­ver this week­end

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By Libby Rainey

Bull­fight­ing is com­ing to Den­ver on Satur­day, with all the pomp and cir­cum­stance usu­ally seen in are­nas in Spain, Por­tu­gal and Mex­ico.

Mata­dors and bulls will take over the Na­tional West­ern Complex, but the ex­pe­ri­ence will be miss­ing one key com­po­nent: blood.

Coined “The Dance,” the bull­fights will be “blood­less” — a tech­nique that re­places the bull­fight­ers’ knives with Vel­cro sticks and places Vel­cro squares on the bulls’ backs.

Un­like a typ­i­cal bull­fight, both bull and mata­dor are meant to emerge alive from the scuf­fle.

Event or­ga­niz­ers say the show will cel­e­brate cul­tural tra­di­tions, but animal ac­tivists say the idea of “hu­mane bull­fight­ing” is an oxy­moron.

“You re­ally can’t say that it’s a cru­elty-free sport, be­cause they’re tor­tur­ing the bull and ex­ploit­ing it for en­ter­tain­ment pur­poses,” said Lori Green­stone, a board mem­ber of the animal rights ad­vo­cacy group Colorado Vot­ers for An­i­mals. “The only thing they’re not do­ing is killing it in front of the pub­lic like in reg­u­lar bull­fight­ing.”

Or­ga­niz­ers from White Ea­gle Pro­mo­tions, the com­pany putting on the event, in­sist it is cru­elty-free, and an im­por­tant mode of cul­tural ex­change.

“The spec­ta­cle re­mains the same, and the dan­ger is still there not for the bulls, ac­tu­ally, but for the hu­mans,” said Mario Al­varez, gen­eral man­ager of the com­pany putting on the show.

“These bulls are go­ing to be full of en­ergy, and that can po­ten­tially harm the hu­mans that are do­ing the dance.”

“The Dance” is the brain­child of Joe Fer­nan­dez, a Colorado na­tive who lives in Tur­lock, Calif.

Fer­nan­dez got hooked on blood­less bull­fight­ing him­self when he moved to Cal­i­for­nia more than 25 years ago. Fer­nan­dez wanted to bring bull­fight­ing to Den­ver.

“Be­ing a Latino, I’m po­lit­i­cal also. I just think that right now there’s a lot of things go­ing on in pol­i­tics with im­mi­grants and build­ing a wall,” Fer­nan­dez said. “I think it’s a time to step for­ward and pro­mote Latin cul­ture and how beau­ti­ful it is.”

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