When we started our research about the various animal exploitative festivals in the world for our article Celebrating Suffering, what we had in mind was what is sometimes referred to as bloody fiestas. For example, the Peruvian Yawar which is literally referred to as ‘The Blood Festival’, the Brazilian Farra do Boi, Faeroe Islands’ Grindadráp,the Mexican Fiesta de la Virgen de la Candelaria and the various Spanish fiestas such as Toro de la Vega, La Rapa Das Bestas, Toro Enmaromado and of course Pamplona’s Running of the Bulls, probably the most infamous among AR activists due to the famous campaign, which we have addressed in our post The Inherent Objectification.
However we were stunned to discover an endless list of exploitive festivals, all over the world.
In some of them, mostly in what is referred to as western nations (in exception of Spain of course which is by no doubt the worst nation in the world in terms of bloody fiestas), no blood is shed during the festival, but plenty is spilled before and after.
One of them, UK’s National Burger Day, was held for the first time while we were making Celebrating Suffering, where we wrote about it:
“The brits are way too cultured to chase bulls in London streets. They leave this barbarism to the southern savages from Spain.
They want their torture far from the eye and close to their tongue.
So on the 27th of August 2013 they celebrated the first UK’s National Burger Day.
Enlightenedly the victims of the British celebration were slaughtered in an abattoir, following the logic that horrors should be disguised, held behind the scenes, as civilized people do.”
A few days ago the festival was held for the third time and with the same theme, a burger-only street feast, including various “ingenious” ground corpse sandwiches.
The fact that the Brits don’t chase down the cows they devour by themselves obviously doesn’t make them less responsible for the inflicted suffering, and it doesn’t make the whole event less of a celebration of humans’ domination.
Vindicating claims that humans’ are not aware of the suffering they are responsible for, are nowadays absolutely invalid. Today, in many regions of the world everybody knows.
But the two most prominent examples of civilized brutality, and of the most popular festivals in the world, are the Australian Royal Melbourne Show and the American Houston Livestock and Rodeo Show. With about half a million partakers per year in Melbourne and more than 2.5 million in Houston, both are much bigger than other festivals in terms of number of spectators, but more importantly they are much bigger in terms of ”performers”.
The 160 years old Royal Melbourne Show, is a 12 days celebration of excellence in agricultural exploitation, during which thousands of animals are put on display and contests. The festival’s slogan is there’s nothing like 10,000 Animals on display and they invite the visitors to take a stroll through The Livestock Pavilion and come face to face with the exploited animals, and are welcomed to participate at first hand. Very young children are getting a free, intensive, state of the art speciesism course, with various oppression attractions you can read about in the article.
In the United States, land of the free, there are a lot of outdoor torturing events open to the public most of them are in the style of the Latin bloody fiestas, meaning plainly, letting a mob attack a bull. Only that in America it was euphemized to a sport.
And of course in America like in America, it is a lot bigger and more established. The Houston Livestock and Rodeo Show is the world’s largest livestock and rodeo festival. During 20 days, more than 2.5 million humans come to watch tens of thousands of helpless creatures being abused in dozens of different ways. With about 20 different types of rodeo events and not less livestock “attractions”, all abusers can find their favorite abuse type and favorite victim species, which you can read about in the article.
These “clean act” festivals are more significant since they are representatives of much bigger suffering industries, and in some cases, like the festivals in Melbourne and Houston, are virtually displays of these suffering industries, and a much deeper problem. In general, the exemplified speciesism and the actual abuse is vaster and goes deeper into the animals’ bodies and humans’ minds.
Unaware of their existence, some draw hope thinking that since there are no openly displayed brutal festivals in these civilized countries, it is a progress thing – ‘The brutal festivals will vanish one day as these “barbarians” from “uncivilized” nations would progress, and then we won’t see bulls running in the streets followed by humans who hurt them’.
Maybe indeed, one day, we won’t see animals abused in the streets, but we’ll still see their remains everywhere, embodying the suffering they endured away from the open streets, while they were still alive, like in UK’s national burger day.
Or worse, violence and oppression so normalized, that its victims are proudly presented as “showpieces” of agricultural excellence, like in the Royal Melbourne Show.
The brutal festivals in these “civilized countries” didn’t vanish, but were transformed into vaster and deeper versions of domination displays, with much more violence, which is so assimilated that they are not even seen as such.
The Civilized abuse, these speciesism and exploitation displays are much scarier than the “savages” chasing cows in the streets. The banality of evil is a much more dangerous archenemy to fight. It is not made out of dozens of millions of humans and their local traditions, but of most humans, and the entire human legacy.