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Matadors And Toros

January 09, 1994

It is refreshing to read an accurate portrayal of the world of bullfighting, warts and all, written by someone well equipped to discuss the subject ("The Reckless Valor of Juan Antonio Ruiz," by Jonathan Kandell, Dec. 5). Kandell's description of Ruiz's disastrous week is quite a departure from the usual depiction of endless parties, luxury and glory--the romantic life of a matador. And the portrait of the sensitive Ruiz is not that of the matador as a sadistic monster, as painted by some opponents of bullfighting.

However, bullfighting is not a sport. It is a spectacle, a tragedy, an extravaganza, a performance, a drama, a ritual, a ceremony, a ballet of death or an art--but never a sport.

CAZ CAZANOV, PRESIDENT

LOS AFICIONADOS DE LOS ANGELES

Granada Hills

Because of the long tribute to the heroic deeds and suffering of Ruiz, it's only fair to mention the heroism and pain of his opponent--the bull.

According to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the bull, before entering the ring, is given strong laxatives and tranquilizers to weaken it. Petroleum jelly is rubbed into its eyes to blur its vision. After being handicapped in various other ways, it is ready to face the brave matador.

During the "contest," two heavy darts with fishhook points are implanted into the bull's neck muscles to tear its flesh whenever it moves. The accompanying picador , who rides a blindfolded horse with its ears stuffed with wet newspapers and its vocal cords cut, will then slice a four-inch-wide hole along the bull's backbone. A lance will be inserted into this hole and rotated four times.

Except for an occasional goring by an unsportsmanlike bull, the bullfighter usually wins.

GEORGE WOOD

Malibu

If the matadors and managers are complaining about the lack of stamina and aggressiveness of today's toros , why don't they show some true courage, forgo the ritualistic torture and face a healthy, rested bull?

THOMAS DUCKWORTH

Long Beach

The bullfight is pagan savagery masquerading as noble tradition. Along with other relics of human ignorance, such as female circumcision and the electric chair, the bullfight must go.

EDIE DITMARS

Pacific Palisades

So a bull that enters an arena and doesn't want to fight is a "fraud." I say that word better describes the sadistic little creature in tights who repeatedly skewers the bull--and believes that all this makes him a man.

RITA A. BURTON

Beverly Hills

We should all boycott Spain and Spanish products until this torture and murder of animals is stopped. A sympathetic article like Kandell's serves only to disguise animal abuse as an acceptable cultural more.

JOAN HILL

Bloomfield Hills, Mich.

Much of Spain's contemporary population turns away from this sadistic sport in disgust, consigning it to the thoughtlessness and viciousness of another era. Kandell's article perpetuates antagonistic myths and stereotypes that equate Spaniards with mindless savagery. Spain today is a vital and thriving nation whose sons and daughters have made invaluable and lasting contributions to Western culture.

JOSE DE J. RODRIGUEZ

Westwood

There's no valor in bullfighting. It's barbaric, inhumane and just plain stupid. That you devoted space to this disgusting and cruel subject is shameful.

KAREN SHEPERD

Studio City

I have no feeling whatever for gored matadors, but I feel great sadness for their victims. I'm glad I live in a country where bullfighting is outlawed.

SIMONE DENNEWILL

San Pedro

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