Oxford Mail: Bullfighting author’s talk called off


Bullfighting author’s talk called off

9:30am Thursday 9th February 2012

A TALK tonight by Oxford bullfighter Alexander Fiske-Harrison has been cancelled.

Mr Fiske-Harrison mounted a fierce attack on Blackwell’s for cancelling the event, rescheduled to today after the Broad Street bookshop postponed the original talk because of security fears.

Mr Fiske-Harrison, 35, angered animal rights extremists after training to become a bullfighter and killing a bull in a ring in Spain, later describing his experiences in a book. The writer said the original lunchtime meeting two weeks ago was postponed after Blackwell’s informed him that they had received “a credible threat.”

But he has now accused Blackwell’s of overstating the threat, scaring people away from tonight’s rearranged talk.

Tony Cooper, manager of Blackwell’s, said: “After several conversations with Alexander Fiske-Harrison we decided to cancel the event due to the small number of tickets taken up. Despite initial interest in the lunchtime talk this did not carry forward into a full evening talk by the author.

“We are obviously disappointed that this is the case as we never like to cancel an event unless absolutely necessary.”

Mr Fiske-Harrison, 35, spent two years in Spain’s heartland of bullfighting with matadors and breeders, talking with fans and training to fight bulls himself.

Alexander Fiske-Harrison with a 3-year-old Saltillo bull.

Photo: Paloma Gaytán de Ayala (Santa Coloma)

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  1. This just makes me angry, it smacks of narrow mindedness and weakness. I’m sorry that your talk was called off, it would have been a fantastic opportunity for people to learn something new – they could still disagree, but their opinion could be more intelligibly formed…

    I wish that you would come to Houston and give a talk! I will be watching Padilla’s return, as well as your own, to the ring. Hang in there, and be safe.

  2. Thank you.

  3. Wernfried K. says:

    What a shame for Blackwell’s to call the talk off! This smells distictly like a pretext. But don’t worry, you will make your way!

    BTW, I read your Speccie article (Warrior …), very interesting!

    Best wishes, Wernfried

  4. Thank you Wenfried. I hope to write more for the Speccie soon. Alexander

  5. I was reading a wonderful article about Alvaro Munera, and then had the misfortune of stumbling upon an article about you. Let’s just be clear–you are not for animal rights if you support the torture of animals for entertainment. There is NO ART in the torture of bullfighting, there is only the unnecessary primitive reassertion that we as human beings can once again heave a sigh of relief because yes, we are in fact, still at the top of the food chain, and we do our best to remind all the creatures who have the misfortune of sharing this planet with us of that every chance we get.
    “Animals have done us no harm and they have no power of resistance.…There is something so very dreadful…in tormenting those who have never harmed us, who cannot defend themselves, who are utterly in our power.”
    —Cardinal John Henry Newman

  6. Thank you. Although if you are that anti-bullfighting, then surely Munera who fought and killed 150 of the poor, innocent creatures is more deserving of your scorn. Or is it that the cause is more important than the animals? AFH

  7. Let’s be clear about the argument you are trying to make: Munera was a boy when he was introduced to bullfighting, and he was a teenager when he had his accident. You are a grown man who, although you claim to have mixed feelings about bullfighting, your feelings were not mixed enough to prevent you from killing a bull in the end. Of course Munera is not excused from the many bulls he killed (I will leave out “poor, innocent creatures” as you call them), and from his interview it is obvious that he is paying the price with his guilt and his nightmares about these bulls chasing him–oh, and the whole fact that he’s paralyzed. You, on the other hand, were not raised in that world to be enamored of the glory of bullfighting, you just took it upon yourself to “investigate” what the allure is around this sick and vicious world. Although I admire writers who go the extra mile to research their topics, I don’t understand anyone who wants to add more violence and cruelty to a world that is already overrun with it, especially when it comes to animals. There is a reason that the mayor of Bogota has said that “not a single peso will be spent on this type of event”. And there is also a reason that the interviewer in your “Identity Crisis” interview told you that he is having trouble reconciling your words with your actions, which I noticed gave you pause. He is not the only one.

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