While her ex-fiancé, Frank Lampard, is generating attention for being on the verge of equalling Chelsea’s club record for goals scored, Elen Rivas is hoping to shine a spotlight on an entirely different issue: the Spanish model has appealed to Spanish authorities to reject an initiative to protect and promote bullfighting as a national cultural pastime.
“Spain is a country rich in history, architecture, cinema, art and culture,” she wrote in the letter. "I am proud of my Spanish heritage, but the fact that some people are still clinging to the tradition of stabbing bulls to death in bullfighting arenas is something that the vast majority of Spaniards, including me, are ashamed of. That’s why I am so shocked and saddened to learn that you are considering protecting bullfighting as a cultural pastime.
“Glorifying the deliberate slaughter of animals should not be tolerated in a civilised society. Despite the history of bullfighting in Spain, times and sensibilities have progressed. Torturing animals for entertainment is now rightly looked upon with condemnation and revulsion. Millions of Spanish citizens have signed petitions to ban bullfighting across the country. As a result, the barbaric “sport” has been outlawed in Catalonia, and the Canary Islands. Even our state-run Spanish television discontinued live coverage of bullfighting, saying it is too violent for children to see.
“I am determined to raise my children to be compassionate and kind. They won’t be brought up to believe that killing animals for entertainment is acceptable. Like most Spaniards, I look forward to the day when the rest of my homeland rejects this inhumane and outdated form of amusement. Cruelty is not culture. I urge you to reject the initiative to protect bullfighting.”
Bulls are commonly deprived of food and water for days prior to a “fight”, and before entering the ring, they can have the tips of their horns shaved off and petroleum jelly smeared into their eyes to blur their vision. Once in the ring, a bull is repeatedly stabbed by a variety of spears, spikes and daggers, causing tremendous pain and blood loss until the matador finally drives a sword into the exhausted animal. Bullfighting has been on the decline for years, with attendance decreasing and bullrings closing in countries where it is allowed, as more and more people put animal welfare first. Seventy-six per cent of Spaniards say that they have no interest in this barbaric ritual, and the industry survives only because of subsidies from Spanish and EU taxpayers. Any move to protect bullfighting would be a huge step backwards.