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Horns of Dilemma

April 18, 1999

I thoroughly enjoyed John J. Linehan's article "Pumped Up in Pamplona" (March 28). It brought back memories of when I was in Spain last summer.

As I was reading the latter part of the article, I knew beforehand that Linehan was talking about "El Juli," the wonder boy who turned full-fledged matador at the ripe age of 16. I was fortunate to see this boy "earn an ear" after a brave and skillful performance in the bullring of Madrid.

I am an avid traveler, and it always gives me a great pleasure to read in the Travel section about all the places I have visited in the past and compare my experiences with your feature travel writers.



How strange to see an article about the running of the bulls, one of the highlights of the world-famous fiesta in northern Spain, written by someone who admittedly detests bullfighting and knows almost nothing about it.

That was quite clear from such banalities as "the bulls are big powerful animals with deadly horns" (amazing!), and flat-out misinformation like: "Scores of Spain's greatest matadors have died when horns went through their vital organs." The fact is, no more than a dozen of Spain's "greatest matadors" have been killed during more than a century of Spanish bullfighting.



At last, a travel article that goes part way toward condemning bullfighting. Too bad, however, that the author didn't agree with his traveling companion who feels bull running is also abusive to the animals.

I know plenty of Spanish men who don't need to pathetically prove their manhood by tormenting and torturing bulls to death in an unfair fight.



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