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"I love bullfighting": TV's Hector

29th May, 2003

The Irish Council Against Blood Sports looks back on an episode of the TG4 series, Amu Amigos, in which viewers were shocked to hear the programme's presenter stating that he loves bullfighting.

The programme, first aired in November 2002 and re-run earlier this year, included incredible scenes of presenter Hector O hEochagain

  • Hugging a matador who is on his way into a bullfighting arena
  • Shaking the matador's hand moments after a bull is viciously stabbed to death
  • Expressing "respect to Fabien, the bullfighter"

The Mexican bullfight segment of the programme showed disgusting scenes of a bull being speared in the back and stabbed with spiked banderillas. Finally, with the animal severely injured, the matador moves in for the kill, plunging a spear between its shoulder blades and into its heart. The bleeding animal collapses onto the ground where it is finished off with a dagger to the head.

Most people would be absolutely disgusted and upset to see such animal abuse but Hector O hEochagain's response was to shake the matador's hand and express respect for him.

His reaction to the appalling scenes prompted many to lodge complaints with TG4.

Other scenes in the programme showed Hector taking part in a bullfight training session and proclaiming: "I love the bullfighting...I'm delighted I saw the bullfighting in Mexico."

Hector with bullfighter
"I love the bullfighting...Respect to Fabien, the bullfighter...I'm delighted I saw the bullfighting in Mexico." (Hector O hEochagain, presenter, Amu Amigos)

Still images from Amu Amigos

Hector stating that he loves bullfighting

Hector partakes in bullfight training session
Amu Amigos presenter, Hector O hEochagain, takes part in a bullfight training session alongside matador, Fabien

Bull being stabbed in the back

Fabien the matador spears bull

Fabien waves proudly at fallen bull

Matador Fabien plunges a spear between the bull's shoulder blades. The bull collapses onto the ground in agony.

Bloodied bull lying on ground

Hector hugging Fabien and shaking his hand
Before and after: Hector hugs Fabien before he enters the bullfight arena. When the killing is over, Hector rushes up and shakes Fabien's hand.

Hector saying - respect to fabien
Hector saying - I'm delighted i saw the bullfighting

Appeal to Irish Holidaymakers

This summer, Irish holidaymakers have the opportunity to help bring to an end one of the world's cruellest blood "sports". Bullfighting - which savagely claims the lives of tens of thousands of bulls every year - subjects each of its victims to the most horrific of suffering.

You can help abolish this sick excuse for a sport. When in Spain, Portugal or other bullfighting countries, show your opposition to the inhumane treatment of animals and boycott the bullrings.

Each bullfight involves the slow torture to death of six or more bulls. The terror begins behind the scenes, before the fight, when the bull is severely handicapped. Cotton wool is stuffed into its nose to hamper breathing, vaseline is smeared into its eyes to blur vision and its horns are often painfully filed down to distort its sense of direction.

The worst is yet to come however. Once in the arena, horseback riders weaken the bull by stabbing its neck and shoulders with long, sharp lances. Then, to make it lower its head into the typical charging pose, six hooked spears are forcefully driven into its neck muscles. The cruelty culminates with a fatal stabbing through the heart with a sword.

Afterwards, the bull's ears and tail are cut off and thrown to the crowd. Horses are also victims, often being gutted, gored and killed.

Bullrings in holiday spots survive thanks to ticket sales to unsuspecting tourists. Many are disgusted at what they see and regret having supported such barbarity. Now that you know the facts about bullfighting, please decide now to make your holiday cruelty-free.

Bullfighting: Further Information

Fight Against Animal Cruelty in Europe
International Web Against Bullfights
Antibullfighting Movement of Portugal
Movimiento Antitaurino de Colombia

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