Bull lovers skewer British matador's memoirs
The 67-year-old bullfighter who returned to the ring in Spain in August was forced to cancel book signings in England following protests from animal rights activists.
London – A 67-year-old Briton who has just made his comeback as a bullfighter in Spain has been forced to cancel book signings after protests from animal rights activists.
Frank Evans, a grandfather of five known in Spain as El Ingles, returned to the bullring in southern Spain in August despite having undergone reconstructive knee surgery and a quadruple heart bypass.
He has just released his autobiography, The Last British Bullfighter, and had planned to sign copies of it for readers at branches of the Waterstone’s book chain in Manchester and Liverpool.
But the plans were called off last week after protests by animal rights groups including PETA, the Born Free Foundation and the Fight Against Animal Cruelty in Europe.
"In the best interests of our customers and staff... Waterstone’s decided to cancel the two 'Last British Bullfighter' events. No further events related to the book are planned," the book chain said in an email.
PETA spokesman Poorva Joshipura welcomed the decision, saying: "Bravo to Waterstone's for distancing itself from the sadistic cruelty and gore of bullfighting."
"There is nothing brave or admirable about anyone who participates in or pays to watch a violent spectacle in which the bull always loses," she said.
Evans lamented that a "minority of extremists put pressure on Waterstone's not to do it (go ahead with the book signings), and they went as far as to suggest that if they did do it, their staff would be in danger".
"So it was a veiled threat. And I think that put Waterstone's in a very difficult position and I completely understand they don't want to hold this public signing because they want to sell books," he said.
He added: "The last thing I would want is for anybody to get hurt for being involved in something that I am doing."
Evans, who left to attend bullfighting school in Spain at the age of 22 and maintained his interest despite becoming a successful businessman, first retired as a matador in 2005.
But he returned to the bullring on 30 August, successfully slaying two bulls of around 500 kilogrammes (1,100 pounds) in Benalmadena, near Malaga in southern Spain.
In Spain bullfighting has a long and proud tradition, but in Britain as in other northern European countries it is widely criticised as cruel.
"It's always a pity in democracy when a minority group can stop the publication or the distribution of any literature. As long as the stuff is legal, I don't believe anything should be suppressed," said Evans.
"And if you don't agree with it, don't read it, but it's surely your right to buy it."
14 September 2009
AFP / Expatica