top of page

The Quality Of Mercy Is Not Strained

This blog was written in August 2015. At the time, it received precious little comment but has suddenly undergone a surge of interest in 2016. I understand that this is because it has been 'hi-jacked' to serve an anti-bullfighting petition. ​I'm not wholly unhappy about that, but before you go on, please be aware that this blog is NOT about that issue. I am a committed vegan and abhor the slaughter of ALL sentient beings. Thus I am not just writing about bullfighting. In fact that subject is almost incidental because from my perspective, it's a no-brainer that this so called 'sport' is rank, barbaric and should be stopped. I have also noted the comments about the veracity of the story that provoked the blog in the first place. I am dismayed that it has even been suggested by some that I made this story up. I did not. Frankly, I have absolutely no idea if it's true. I merely saw the story when it appeared on my Facebook page and used its theme as an opportunity to highlight the plight of billions of helpless creatures. Hence this is NOT a blog about that story, and you may observe that I merely reference it in my blog. It is a raw FACT that billions DO die under similarly cruel and agonising circumstances (outside of the bullring); a truth that we all too conveniently ignore.

If you are unaware of the parallels I sought to highlight, please take note that the picture on the left depicts one such unfortunate animal being taunted at the hand of a slaughterhouse worker. Unlike the bull story, this is quite unequivocal. Note that the slaughterhouse is named. The picture was posted by Animal Liberation Victoria's Facebook page, and was reposted by Animal Rights Media on April 5th 2016. ​This poor, gentle creature is meeting the same fate suffered by literally billions every year. If you are unaware of this, unfortunately you are allowing yourself to live in a sanitised version of society. The truth of what we allow in our names needs to be told. This is what my blog is really about. ​If you are still interested, if you care, here is the actual text, rather than the truncated version. Please read on...

This morning a tragic and heartbreaking story appeared on my Facebook page. Perhaps you've seen it reported elsewhere? The picture, dubbed 'The Kiss of Judas' by the Spanish newspapers, almost tells the whole story. It shows the breeder of a bull, who had raised and cared for him. Once grown, the animal was sold for bullfighting. As he was in the ring being hideously tortured for the amusement of the sick and mindless spectators, he spied his beloved and trusted 'friend' in the crowd and hoping for help and relief, ran to him. The kiss was all he got. The perfidy was complete. The betrayal of this bull is poignant because of what the photograph captures. It is the precise moment when a helpless creature reaches out to the only being that he believes can, or would want to help him. But here are a few questions for you to ask yourself about what you see: Does the picture move you? Look closely. What do you see in the bull's eyes? Do you see pain, desperation, terror, pleading, hurt, grief, disbelief? Can you empathise with the bull's situation? Do you find it as tragic as I do? Are you as upset by the scene as me? Can you feel compassion for a poor helpless creature about to die horribly for the sake of amusement? Do you feel pity? What would you have done if you were there and it was within your power to stop the slaughter? Or are you uncomfortable looking at him at all? Would it be easier for you if I called him 'it', instead of the more personalising 'him'. Are you one of those who believes an animal has no emotions? Do you think it's legitimate to kill for amusement? Of course not. You know it's barbaric. You know this scene is awful. If you could have swept the bull from harm's way and in that moment, saved this poor doomed soul from a cruel and wholly unnecessary death, you would have done. Just as you would have saved Cecil the lion, or stopped the Grindadrap whale slaughter in the Faroe Islands, or the dolphin round up in Taiji, or the Yulin dog meat festival, or any one of the other senseless travesties that humans perpetrate upon the creatures of this planet. But I bet there's a fair chance that you're still eating meat. Because that's different, right? If you were to look at photographs taken in slaughter houses, those animals surely wouldn't demonstrate any of the emotions so evident in this poor bull's eyes would they? There wouldn't be any need to extend any compassion to them would there? They're 'food animals'. They're lesser beings. They wouldn't reach out in desperation in futile hope of a reprieve. They don't value their lives. We couldn't possibly be betraying them. Could we? I believe animals have rights. One of those rights is to stay alive and not be deprived of their lives at our (wholly unnecessary) whim. We do not need to eat them. They have hearts that beat, emotions that feel and families that care for them. Just because you are not the one who does the killing doesn’t make you blameless. When you say and do nothing, you are just as complicit because you tacitly allow these things to happen. If you read my 'God Wills It' posting you will know that I've already deprived you of every single excuse you could possibly have for eating meat, other than the one that reflects most damningly upon you. You simply don’t care. Is that who you are? And if it's not, what is your excuse for continuing to sponsor the slaughter of innocents? I don’t expect the population of the world to own the heinous nature of the acts we allow to be perpetrated any time soon. I do expect all of you to look at your mindset and your actions with clarity and focus and put a stop to your role in the endless cruel, barbaric and unnecessary slaughter of sentient beings. Of this ‘Judas’ story, one commentator observed "Is there any other creature as monstrous as a human being?" Frankly, from my perspective, no.

And finally, a word about the petition that brought you here in the first place. It is a cause totally deserving of your signature. Is the story true? Who knows. If its veracity bothers you so much, I have this to say: Even if this picture does not depict precisely what it seems to, or is reported to, there is a core truth here. This bull is one of around 40,000 that meet mindless, despicably cruel deaths every year. In every case they do not wish to die. In every case, they would do anything to keep their precious lives and survive. In every case they must look around at the sea of faces that gloat over their terrible fate and in desperation search for a trace of kindness and pity that might save them. In every case they are denied it and instead, are taunted by the barbarity of spectators who seem incapable of conceiving, let alone empathising with the torture these poor creatures are being put through for the sake of a few moments bitter entertainment. In every case these bulls have been betrayed by the Judas that raised them and gave them a glimpse of the life that they should have lived and were entitled to live; only to ultimately sell them for their few pieces of silver and trade away their lives as if they were nothing. If this particular man in this particular picture is not one of those, the scene nonetheless depicts a reality that too many so called 'civilized people' in the world find acceptable and even honourable. That is the only truth you need.

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page