After a bullfight, after the bull has been baited, jabbed, and made cruel sport of, usually to the screams of cheering spectators, he is killed, and the gallant matador is presented with an ear.
In Navarra, Spain, last week, perhaps feeling enough was enough, a bull leapt out of the ring, clearing two barriers to land in the grandstand. There, he caused a panic "as he lurched through the screaming crowd, charging and tossing everything he could," injuring 40 spectators.
But, of course, his turnabout was not deemed fair play. The bull was subdued by handlers and later killed.
His death was an irony, although a heroic one: this was not the kind of bullfight that ends with the bull's death. It allowed "only" for the bull being incited by young people into charging them so they could dodge him.
That bull, who we'd like to imagine was thinking, "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore," put himself in exalted company:
- circus elephants who attack their handlers, who for years have tortured them, made them do demeaning tricks and ripped their babies away for cruel training programs of their own.
- tigers who maul and claw their trainers, who keep them in caged bondage when not doing tricks for fools.
- the killer whale who killed his trainer earlier this year — that's what swimming in circles can do to you.
- cows and other animals en route to the slaughterhouse who escape from the truck and run for a chance to live.
- bears, who never signed away their habitats, now hunted down and shot, when to protect their cubs they encroach on "human territory."
Lucky for humans the cry isn't issued, "Animals of the world unite!" Lucky that displays of "I'm not taking it anymore" occur only occasionally, allowing misguided humans to continue with what they regard as their inherent right of dominion over all others.
In going down fighting, that bull in Spain actually became the bull who got away. Viva!
Freelancer writer Pat Summers also blogs at AnimalBeat.blogspot.com.