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Children learn animal cruelty from adults

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Children use roleplay to deal with complicated situations in order to understand them better. Young children act out real or imagined situations, not just as themselves, but also as other people or characters such as friends, family members, characters in story books or superheroes – they are experimenting with alternative viewpoints which help them develop emotional and social skills. But whom do we present as heroes? Bull fighters, hunters, wrestlers, warriors.

When a matador in a bull ring is glorified as a hero, a child will imagine himself/herself as a matador. It is irrelevant to the child that the bull suffers the most terrible agonies in a completely unequal attack: what is relevant is that he sees himself as a hero. Is this child going to be a respectful person to all beings? Michelito Lagravere, a well-known matador, often dubbed as “Justin Bieber of Bullfighting”, killed 6 young bulls when he was 11 years old in 2007. This led to parents putting their 6-year-old children into bullfighting schools across Mexico.

Here are two good examples reported in France of the unfortunate consequences of children taking inspiration from Matadors:

Midi-Libre, a daily newspaper published in the South of France, reported that a dog had been used as a target for shooting arrows, then thrown into a riverbed where it died. The local head of the SPA (Societe Protectrices des Animaux – Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) discovered that the culprits in this sordid affair were a group of kids who were trying to imitate a bullfighter.

French media have made mention recently of a game called the jeu de torero, or “bullfighter game”, where adolescents try to dodge a moving train like a bullfighter dodges the bull. It was when five high school students warned that they wanted to take on the TGV, the high-speed Paris-Marseille train last January, that the French railroad company finally confessed that they had a problem.

As if imitation wasn’t bad enough, children are exposed to parental domestic violence as well. Anna Baldry of King’s College, London found that over 50% of children/adolescents that had been exposed to domestic........

© Mathrubhumi English