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Bullfighter's Nephew Condemns Sport

PETA's Matt Bruce is on a crusade

By Rachel Piper
Posted // March 21,2012 -

Matt Bruce (above, far right, holding banner), whose uncle was a bullfighter in Mexico, became a vegan when he was a teenager. Bruce later was an active member in Salt Lake City’s underground scene, playing in a hard-core band, directing the Salt Lake Animal Advocacy Movement and performing as a magician to pay the bills. Bruce moved to Los Angeles in 2011 to work as an assistant campaigner for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

How did your uncle’s bullfighting influence you?
My uncle died when I was about 5 months old, so I never got to see him perform as a bullfighter, but I grew up learning about him, reading his books, learning about his training, and the brutal ways they treat these bulls. Before they fight, they cut the muscles in the bull’s neck so he can’t pick up his head. They shave down their horns, they drive barbed sticks into their shoulders. They weaken the bulls by feeding them laxatives so they feel sick the whole time, and by beating them repeatedly days before the event. They rub petroleum jelly into the bull’s eyes so he has a hard time judging distance. It’s not an even fight. And when the bull is brutally killed in front of everybody, the ears are cut off and the tail is cut off as a trophy. I remember learning about this as a kid and just being totally disgusted.

What was the reaction to your veganism and activism—are you the black sheep of a bullfighting family?
At first it was an uphill battle. The first couple of years, it was hard for my parents to understand. I come from a very religious household. My whole family is very Lutheran. There’s a quote in the Bible from the apostle Paul where he says: “It does not matter what goes into a man’s mouth, but what comes out.” My father took that to heart. He’s been suffering from health problems for many years. He’s in his mid-70s and he had a series of strokes, he has diabetes, high blood pressure. My mom replaced a lot of the meat in his diet with the “mock meat” that they would feed me when I came over, without my dad even knowing it. He lost a lot of weight and became a lot healthier because of it. When my mom let him know she’d been doing it, he was very thankful.

Why does conservative Utah have such a strong vegan community?
Look at the number of places that are open to feed the vegan community—Sage’s, Cali’s, Vertical Diner, City Cakes, we’ve got two vegan food carts in downtown Salt Lake City. It’s wonderful. I couldn’t guess what the number [of vegans] are, but I know the community’s very strong, and everybody really likes to support one another. As part of my job, I travel around the country two to three weeks a month, organizing and leading demonstrations, and it’s rare that I come across a city where the vegan community sticks together as much as it does in Salt Lake City. And that’s one of the things that I miss the most.

What’s the most memorable protest you’ve taken part in?
Recently, I went to Mexico City, and they had la Piel de Toro, which means by the skin of the bull. It was an anti-bullfighting demonstration. The demonstration was on Sunday, Feb. 5. We got to the demonstration when they were setting up, and there were over 1,200 people there—three lines of people that extended for blocks. Everyone had black bottoms on, and the girls had flesh-colored bras, and everyone was covered in blood, and they all had sharp sticks attached to their backs. Everybody gathered to hold banners and signs, and right in front of us were over 1,000 people, naked and covered in blood, to stand up against the bullfights. It was one of the most amazing demonstrations I’ve ever been a part of.

Rachel Piper Twitter: @RachelTachel

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Posted // March 22,2012 at 01:10

You conveniently forgot to mention that while a 1000 people were at your protest over 45,000 were attending the bullfight that day.  


Posted // March 22,2012 at 01:05

Another ignoramus mindlessly repeating the lies PETA continually spreads. While a bulls neck muscles are weakened they are still capable of goring and killing as has been demonstrated repeatedly throughout history. No petroleum jelly is used as good eye sight is crucial for the Matador to be able to control the bull with the cape--a bull with poor eyesight is much more dangerous. If so many laxatives are given why don't we see diarrhea throughout? Because no laxatives are given, that's why. 

The Matador needs the bull to charge repeatedly during the last part of the performance--it is not so weak it can't lift it's head. But you fools will go on repeating lies like mindless robots.

Bulls are quite capable of goring & killing at any time and most gorings occur after the bull has been picced & had sticks placed. Please explain how all the poor defenseless bulls who can't lift their heads have gored and killed Matadors in the past. Why do you mention a bullfighting Uncle but don't give his name--not very factual reporting, is it?



Posted // March 22,2012 at 11:58 - Hell yeah, bro! Fuck those bulls! The bulls are totally in charge of the show and the fact that the bull dies about a million times more often than the matador just shows how super-skilled the studly matador really is. What these bleeding-heart idiots are obviously missing is that the big, stupid, cloven-hoofed meat sacks love playing at bullfighting. Every single time a bull is stabbed or poked or slashed or charged by a horse-riding spear man, you witness an incredible, tangible joy radiating from their eyes - I mean, it's just like watching a dog play in water. Why can't the average douche bag understand this? The weak little morons. Hey, maybe you and I could go and catch a bear baiting session sometime? Stupid bears really love that shit! It's just that I don't really like going alone (the people are kind of scary at these events) and I can't get any of my stupid, weak-minded, robot friends to join me. How about it? You and me, gallons of beer, stupid animals tortured to death, a few bets, maybe some cheap, underage whores... Hell, yeah. Good times.