Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Beware of Bogus Repented Bullfighter Photo

Last week, I posted a photo making the rounds on Facebook. It shows a bullfighter sitting down in the middle of an arena and bowing his head while a bull looks on. It purports to show bullfighter Alvaro Munera having a crisis of conscience right before a bullfight and demonstrating remorse by lowering his head, as if weeping or showing shame. A fellow animal rights activist from the UK, Jaysee Costa, submitted the following comment about the photo, worth posting as a warning for those of you who see it:

ATTENTION: This photo circulating with a "thinking" bullfighter in front of a dying bull, claimed to be of the repented bullfighter Alvaro Munera, is not of him. This is a photo of a "normal" bullfighter striking a theatrical pose to show how relaxed he is in the proximity of the bull, and trying to elevate his cruel activity into an "Art", imitating sculptures and painting (in this case, probably Rodin's thinker). They do this often. Alvaro Munera does exist, and he is indeed a repented Colombian ex-bullfighter that become animal protectionist (I have met him several times). 
But the photo circulating is not of him, and he did not "turn" during a bullfight, but months after a bull left him paraplegic and had to travel to the USA for rehabilitation, where he discovered for the first time opposition to bullfighting. So the photo is not him, and the story that he "turned" during a bullfight is also false.  
So, Alvaro is indeed a repented Colombian bullfighter turned animal protectionist, and he is not the only one, but we should stop the circulation of the photo (since it is not him) and the story that he repented during a bullfight, since this is damaging the anti-bullfighting movement because the bullfighting industry is using this to claim that the movement is demagogic, and to even try to prove that Alvaro does not exist (or he was not a proper bullfighter) on the basis that the photo is of another bullfighter.  
Please do not distribute either a link of a blog of an English amateur bullfighter (and writer) who is supposedly "exposing" the falsity of the photo in question, because by doing so you are promoting his blog which blatantly glorifies bullfighting. So, if you can, spread this message about (without the photo, or the link of the English bullfighter) letting people know the truth without spreading further damage. 

I appreciate Costa submitting this comment. So many bogus photos are circulating around Facebook, as well as a number of false or misattributed quotes or information ripped out of context. I immediately removed the photo because it's not real. Even a brief amount of research confirms what Costa says is right. There are enough horrific abuses of animals, and enough instances of inspiring heroism by animal rights activists, that we don't need to post anything bogus. I thank Costa for submitting this excellent comment.


  1. Jeez. One thing the internet allows anyone to learn. There are lots of humans who lie. Maybe that's the characteristic that makes us different from the other animals. Many of us are excellent and frequent liars.

  2. Thanks for the investigative work here. I tried also to validate the photo by using Google images but was unable to find the original photo and backstory. In our desire to believe that the study in this photo had "repented," many rushed to post it without verifying its authenticity.

  3. I loathe bullfighters and that cruel blood sport. It sickens me!