Pop idol Alaska bares all to defend Europe's bulls
The singer joins forces with British animal rights group PETA to protest against bullfighting.5 June 2008
MADRID - Following on the heels of Pamela Anderson and Dita von Teese, Alaska, the Spanish diva of the 1980s cultural movement known as la movida, is baring her body for the latest campaign by the British animal rights group PETA.
An idealised poster depicting her like a 1940s pin-up girl shows Alaska in the nude with three bullfighting banderillas (thorny spikes used to goad the bull) stuck in her back. The caption reads: "La verdad al desnudo: la tauromaquia es cruel" (The naked truth: bullfighting is cruel).
"It would have been easy to create a terrible, heartrending photograph, but by creating a beautiful one you create even more distress," said the 44-year-old singer and actress at the campaign presentation in Madrid.
Alaska - born Olvido Gara Jova in Mexico City to a Spanish father and Cuban mother - admitted that she has no bullfighter friends, but that she is almost the daughter of one because her mother's first husband was a matador.
"I was born and raised around bullrings, I saw bullfights and I was inside bullpens until the age of 10. It was a natural thing to me back then, and look at me now, it horrifies me," she said.
The singer said that she is unconvinced by economic and cultural arguments in favour of bullfighting. "The main argument should be the animal's suffering. Besides, cultural customs should evolve too. Otherwise, I would be burning at the stake right now and you would be at home doing the dishes."
The poster was released just a day before pro- and anti-bullfighting groups were due to speak at the European Parliament.
Luis de Grandes, a representative for the first group, which is backed by the European Popular Party, said their aim is to show that bullfighting "is not a synonym of cruelty, but a premier cultural event."
Meanwhile Raúl Romeva, a European MP for the second group, which is supported by Los Verdes green party, said that torturing an animal "cannot be defended from the same framework from which one defends Spanish gastronomy or art," and added that bullfighting is not accepted the same way across Spain, a reference to Catalonia, where there is a strong anti-bullfighting movement and a campaign is on to shut down Barcelona's bullring, La Monumental.
[El Pais / Elena G. Sevillano / S.U. / Expatica]