by Michael dEstries
Categories: Animals, Causes
Tags: .

ricky gervais

When it comes to bulls meeting an untimely and torturous end in the arena, Ricky Gervais is sickened.

The comedian has teamed up with the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) to call for an end to the cruel practice of bullfighting, and urge tourists to stop supporting such brutality on their travels.

“Sometimes the worst kind of cruelty is done in the name of entertainment. It sickens me to know that people still pay money to see an animal tortured to death. Cultural heritage is no excuse for inflicting such pain on a frightened and confused animal,” Gervais says in a new PSA for the org.

“My first love was nature and wildlife, and, in particular, animals,” he added in an interview. “I think animals are all unconditionally perfect, and beautiful. Animals really matter to me, and WSPA is trying to stop needless acts of animal cruelty all over the world. One of their campaigns is against bullfighting. It sickens me to know that in this day and age, people are still paying money to see an animal suffering in such a horrific way.”

The new campaign by WSPA comes as the Catalonian Government in Spain is preparing to make a historic vote on a proposal to ban bullfighting. Check out Gervais’s PSA — and the sign the petition here.

About Michael dEstries

Michael has been blogging since 2005 on issues such as sustainability, renewable energy, philanthropy, and healthy living. He regularly contributes to a slew of publications, as well as consulting with companies looking to make an impact using the web and social media. He lives in Ithaca, NY with his family on an apple farm.

View all posts by Michael dEstries →
  • kelly g.

    If Ricky Gervais was really serious about ending bullfighting, he’d get nekkid, a la Imogen Bailey. You know, for the animals.

  • Anna

    Not only in catalunia, catalunia is just a small part of spain, should be all over the world!!


  • Monica

    This couldn`t be more timely, after that horrific video taken during the village fair in Alhaurín el Grande was released this week, where a rowdy group of drunken youngsters beat one of the young bulls used for running through the streets, to death.

    Good on ya, Ricky!

  • georgina0912

    Ugh, and what about what happened to Spanish matador Julio Aparicio? A bull’s horn went through his jaw and came out through his mouth…total gore, but hey, it is his “career” of choice. I bet still some other matador came out to finish the bull. Disgusting way of “entertainment.”

  • Pedro Abad-Schuster

    This is not entertainment. It has symbolism of life and death. There is no capabiluty of understanding what this represents, unless you have spanissh heritage. I would say “Please mind your own business” when anybody of a different culture starts dictating his or her own thoughts to thousands of people through a web site or journal. This is not a sport either. But, english speaking people contionue with their idea that this is crap and should be banished. How nice when this same porson enjoys eating a lobster. How protective is this critic of animals when he or she cares about “corrida de toros”, about the bull not participating of this tradition to avoid losing its life, meanwhile goes to a nice restaurant and, who cares about anything, will enjoy a nice lobster, chicken, etc. The bull has the same chance than the matador to harm. The bull uses its “embestida” to defend himself. The matador can be harmed and lose his life. People against “corrida de toros” just focus on the blood they see, this tradition is much more than that. Please educate yourself, speak, ask, read…meanwhile respect the spanish culture, which is an old culture, you have countries like Mexico,Spain, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, that have bullfighhting. These cultures have ancient cultural roots with the incas, the mayas, aztecs, aymaras. Therefore people of spanish heritage live different, have different values, ways of enjoying life, different foods, different approaches to educating their children, etc etc. American cultutre is young, not comparable with spanish and incan or aztec cultures which are ancient. Let´s respect each other. In Spñain, in Southamerica, in México, we don´t have the same problems or style of life – and you know what, WE ARE HAPPY. We know how to love our families. We have our own delicious foods, our own music – salca, cumbia, musica norteña -. You see us as dumb people, as savage people. Well, we respect your opinions, we dont enjoy american football either or baseball – and we keep our mouth shut about it. Why dont you educate yourself about bullfighting in the first place. Please access and watch – if you feel convenient – the following link: (copy and paste): -This is the best weekly TV program in the whole world about the issue we are discussing. Spectators dont enjoy the blood they see coming out of the bull, neither when a matador is hurt. José Tomás almost lost his life last month in Aguascalientes, México – and now Julio Aparicio also barely saved his life. Please raise your cultural level and INVESTIGATE this matter. Dont just throw words out of your mouth, because life is not just USA, there is 150 countries in the world. And if I have hurt anybodies feelings with this opiunion, I ask for your forgiveness. God bless.

    • georgina0912

      Pedro, we totally get that you are trying to save face for your culture, but at the same time you need to understand that our stance is not against culture, but against animal cruelty, which in no way is an excuse for culture.

      I am from Costa Rica and i am decedent of Spaniards, yet, i abhor animal cruelty in any way, shape, form, career, entertainment, call it what you want but i highly doubt that the bull was asked whether he wanted to participate in a “sport” where he would be killed. How about the Pamplona runs? Did anyone have a chat with the bulls and asked them if they wanted to run like crazy in those narrow streets while people tease them? No. Or course not. Why you ask? Because humans are arrogant and inconsiderate and humans think that we can do whatever we please with animals.

      Now, i do not know who you are talking about but i am a vegan, do you know what that is? Educate yourself:

      My lifestyle allows me to eat everything i want, except that i refuse to put in my mouth bits of animal or its fluids; i do not buy anything that has animal ingredients in it, or that is tested on animals, and do not wear fabrics such as silk for which silk worms were boiled alive. Like that i can give you many examples so again, in my case your argument falls flat.

      There are “corridas de toros a la Tica” in Costa Rica as well; do you think i love them just because i am from the country? No. I refuse to participate in something that may harm an animal. And i will have you know that in CR the bulls are not killed, they are teased until the bull snaps and goes chasing the idiots inside with him. I am not proud of that, but i will speak against it today, tomorrow, any day, in this country and in my own country.

      “The bull has the same chance than the matador to harm.” True, but the bull cannot make a choice whether to die for the sake of entertainment today or tomorrow. The choice is made by a HUMAN.

      “…meanwhile respect the spanish culture, which is an old culture, you have countries like Mexico,Spain, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, that have bullfighhting. These cultures have ancient cultural roots with the incas, the mayas, aztecs, aymaras. Therefore people of spanish heritage live different, have different values, ways of enjoying life, different foods, different approaches to educating their children, etc etc.” I agree with your statement there, this country is a fairly young one and does not have the history other countries have, however, when it comes to what we consider unethical and inhumane you can be from any country in the world, young or old and find that people from other cultures can also oppose the same things. Perhaps you should talk to people outside of Spain.

      “You see us as dumb people, as savage people.” I do not know where you got this one from buddy.

      “Well, we respect your opinions, we dont enjoy american football either or baseball – and we keep our mouth shut about it.” I don’t like those sports either, but we are not talking about people kicking chickens instead of footballs. If someday someone shows up saying that yet a new sport has been invented that it involves animals you can be sure that it does not matter where the person is from i will oppose it. Animals are not ours to kill, or use.

      And of course, how predictable that you think that “A La Carta” is the best TV show in the world, it defends your views about bullfighting rather than challenging them; if that was the case you would not be watching or praising it.

  • Pedro Abad-Schuster

    The animal cruelty you see is significantly offset by the meaning or symbolism of the “corrida de toros” (or bullfight). This fact is crucial to wearing the shoes of millions of aficionados of Spanish heritage around the world. In second place, not a single aficionado or spectator enjoy the blood of the “toro de lidia” (specific bull genetically produced for the corridas) during the corrida. Lets stop in these two facts. The symbolism is greater than the blood. What symbolism is this? For 3 long centuries, in my native Peru, Peruvians of the Andean regions (in Peru there is coast, Andean region or sierra and amazing jungle – where Madre de Dios area is the number one in the world in biodiversity- ) attend 500 of this corridas. What we see in a corrida is “how the grace or ballet of a matador – representing life- prevails against the nature of a beautiful animal unique in the world –which for this tradition or purpose represents death”. The corrida has music, color, magic in the air, symbolism as previously detailed. The rite is exactly the same as it happened 300 years ago. The toro de lidia is different thou. There is two thousand different ganaderías or brands of toros de lidia around the world which use genetics – as horseracing do – . Once this savage spectacle – YES IT IS SAVAGE – is banned in Cataluña- YES IT WILL BE BANNED for the reason that Cataluña´s main objective is to become independent from the mainland Spain –and therefore is using the bullfights issue as their main argument in pursuing such independence. Once that happens, then there is NO REASON to continue breeding the toro de lidia. The private investors that own the ganaderias will close their doors and shut off the operation and the ganadería, therefore the lawmakers will not allow a corrida to take place and therefore the TORO DE LIDIA will extinguish. Sometimes in life we choose as an alternative to DO NOTHING, or let things untouched, because it is the less harmful alternative. Here it is the same. I ban bullfights – WHICH BY THE WAY WILL NOT HAPPEN IN ANY OTHER PLACE IN THE WORLD EXCEPT CATALUÑA – AND THAT MEANS THE I ABOLISHMENT THE EXISTENCE OF THE TORO DE LIDIA. The reason is that the 2,000 private investors that raise the toro de lidia is to participate in the corrida. This beautiful animal has intelligence and display their own behavior or “personality” if you wish in the ruedo at the moment of the corrida. . Once in the ruedo, there are coward bulls, there are brave bulls (one out of six is the norm) , there are all sorts of instinctive reactions that each bull perform by the second and that the true aficionados are watching and at the same time the top 10 matadors in the world have the task of dominating the animal with grace (toreo de arte). Some bulls are fierce, others are like puppies, others are dum. JUST LIKE HUMAN LIFE. The antitaurinos like you focus on the so called “animal cruelty”. They HAVE NOT spoken with the criticos taurinos (espert journalists), have not read articles from the other side, neither thousands of books, have not attended buenas corridas – the best are the ones in Bilbao in mid august . Please understand, in order to be serious, this Fiesta is fascinating – the toro de lidia is the most privileged animal, it lives 4 years of its life with all the dedication of the breeders or ganaderias. His purpose is to display its own “personality” in the ruedo (corrida de toros). His death happens while displaying WHO HE IS. The bull wont die at the mercy of a butcher or a chicken killer in the obscurity of a factory. The picador during the corrida de toros will introduce the pica during brief seconds to allow the bull to avoid a heart attack, and mainly to temper the embestida, otherwise the matador cannot perform “the ballet” or faena de muleta. The perception of anything or everything in life of a caucasian person or English speaking person or any human being depends on its values, principles, way of behavior, this is culture (the “filter” each person displays every second of perception). Yes, it is a savage spectacle, and therefore PLEASE DON’T ATTEND. And also, please raise to the level of INVESTIGATING, like a good journalist do before publishing an ethical article. And at the end, PLEASE DON’T DICTATE what the people of 150 countries should do or should not do. Technology and Globalization is here. Millions of people cannot be fooled. Cataluña will ban bullfighting because it is a POLITICAL ISSUE. Bullfighting WILL NOT BE BANNED ANYWHERE ELSE. Can you live with this? And if I have said or expressed something that have hurt feelings, I ask for your forgiveness. God Bless. Free expression is a right, it should be done with fundaments, with ethics, and at the end of the day, we humans deserve respect of the way we think and feel. Bullfighting produce emotions in the spectators. AND IOT TEACHES VALUES OF LIFE. Please investigate just this sentence or thought. Meanwhile, thousands of toros de lidia will continue to have a wonderful life for 4 years and will HAVE A CHANCE of making his breeders proud of their behavior in the ruedo at the corrida or ashame of it. By the way, the toro de lidia DO NOT SUFFER when a good picador performs a good pica. The blood flowing is necessary for the toro and for the torero. God Bless.

    • georgina0912

      So, according to you the meaning of the corrida (the ballet crap between life=matador and death=bull) is counterbalanced by the killing of an unwilling bull? And you have been doing this for 300 years? You need to evolve. There is absolutely no chance that the word matador (matador = killer) is a coincidence. Probably since its inception, bullfighting was designed to kill a wonderful beast by one BRAVE person who goes into the redondel armed with spades, all for the sake of entertaining people who like seeing animals being tortured.

      And this prompts me to ask you if you have pets, and if you do, how do you treat them? Do you eat them when they are old or when they are not cute anymore? Do you shoot them if they scratch your leg, or perhaps stab them if they play too rough? Do you like animals at all or feel compassion for them?

      If “not a single aficionado or spectator enjoy the blood of the ‘toro de lidia’” then why do you call it a “savage spectacle?” Didn’t you say yesterday that bullfighting is not entertainment? I do not get you. Also, you are admitting that the whole bullfighting shenanigan is about business, about money, dinero, plata. Also, if what you use is a frankenbull, not even a natural creation but something that came out of a lab then why will it “extinguish?” Your scientists can continue creating more wonderful bulls right out of their Petri dishes that will live a short 4 years!

      I can see that you have been brainwashed, which is why I said that you need to evolve, but let me ask you one more thing, how is the “blood flowing is necessary for the toro and for the torero?” We all need blood in our systems, but how is it necessary for both the toro and the torero to have blood flowing from the toro no less? Once that starts happening the toro will start weakening and it will get easier and easier and easier for the matador/killer to stab the bull to its untimely death, unless someone saves the bull, but other than that, flowing blood only concretes the deadly meaning of the corridas, to kill an animal, and don’t say it is not for entertainment because the redondeles are full of people that go see that sorry spectacle. In the end, it is for entertainment…oh, and money too! I mean, you do charge at the entrance right?

  • Daws

    It’s time to evolve, Pedro. Bullfighting is barbaric and needs to go the way of the dodo. Nobody cares what it symbolizes. Much less the poor bulls who are being tortured to death while the spectators have a special moment.

  • Humane Future

    I was going to respond to Pedro, but I think Georgina did a wonderful job. The argument against bullfighting is about cruelty, not culture. I respect anyone’s right to do whatever they want, as long as it doesn’t hurt other people, animals or the environment.

    As human beings, we must evolve. Gladiatorial contests are a part of my Italian heritage, but I would never argue that this is a valid reason for these hideous contests to be held today. You can cherish your heritage while leaving the bullfight to the past.