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Torrero Alvaro Munera: a former bullfighter with compassion

36 Comments

Dear gentle blog reader,

As a vegetarian and animal lover, I’ve always been horrified by bullfighting. Now, at least one former bullfighter, is too — I wish more bullfighters and the people who watch these atrocities would do the same!

‎”And suddenly, I looked at the bull. He had this innocence that all animals have in their eyes, and he looked at me with this pleading. It was like a cry for justice, deep down inside of me. I describe it as being like a prayer – because if one confesses, it is hoped, that one is forgiven. I felt like the worst shit on earth.”

This photo shows the collapse of Torrero Alvaro Munera, as he realized in the middle of the his last fight… the injustice to the animal. From that day forward he became an opponent of bullfights.

credit: Lacey Korb

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36 thoughts on “Torrero Alvaro Munera: a former bullfighter with compassion

  1. For Munera to have this revelation was truly a connection to God, spirit and truth of life. Blessed be.

    • Please, don’t turn this into a religious thing. It must have been extremely difficult for this man to come to such a realisation, given that this is his profession and that he has done this for a large number of years.

      Many in this situation would attempt to justify the behaviour to extremes in order to avoid accepting the reality that what they’ve been partaking in for so long is actually horrible and a major misjudgement.

      No wonder he has broken down in the way that he has. Much respect to this man, he is a true hero.

      • In his interviews, he regularly expresses his desire to repent and his hopes that God will forgive him for his crimes. In one interview, he speaks of God no less than four times. It is a religious thing, because it’s a religious thing for him.

      • This is spiritual, not religious. NO way to water it down, nor should we!!!!
        I honor his humility in surrendering to a higher calling within.

      • You are correct, it doesn’t have to become religious.
        This man just finally realized that to kill animal so other people can be entertained was plain wrong.

    • that isn’t Alvaro Munera and this wasn’t the way he ended his career as a bull fighter.. the real Alvaro Munera was thrown about by the bull he was fighting and left paraplegic before he changed his mind about fighting bulls..

    • THIS is true and I believe it so!
      Everything it comes from God. No wise man can be an exterminator of His creatures just for fun. Like the hunters! Both are the most disturbing and barbarian things I ever saw.
      Greetings from Athens.

    • It is sad that a humans good deed be attributed to God – even by himself. Why can’t it just be a normal human function to have realised morality.

    • Well.. actually. He didn’t realise mid fight that it was wrong. after his last fight which rendered him as a paraplegic he began his recovery in hospitals and rehabilitation clinics in which he recieved much distain from his nurses, doctors, fellow patients, etc. this caused him to rethink his opinion of bull fighting because of majority rules kind of mentallity.. soo he wasn’t changed by god.. or spirituality.. he was changed by man… don’t impose beliefs on a story you haven’t looked into.

  2. The story, while really touching, isn’t entirely true. Alvaro Munera became a fierce opponent of bullfighting after a serious injury in the bullring that resulted in his paralysis -not as the result of an epiphany when the bull looked him in the eye. He has somevery interesting things to say about his time “fighting” bulls – check out an interview here on salon.com http://open.salon.com/blog/addisonpg/2012/03/05/alvaro_munera_an_ex-bullfighter_tells_why_he_became_an_animal_rights_activist The photo is really interesting,isn’t it, you’ve got to wonder what’s going on for that bull, he kinda looks concerned.
    -Debbie

    • Thank you for sharing the article! Munera mentions sincident before he was injured when he was questioned whether or not he should quit bullfighting:

      “Did you ever think of quitting bullfighting before that bull confined you to a wheelchair?

      Yes, there were several critical moments. Once I killed a pregnant heifer and saw how the fetus was extracted from her womb. The scene was so terrible that I puked and started to cry. I wanted to quit right there but my manager gave me a pat on my back and said I shouldn’t worry, that I was going to be an important bullfighting figure and scenes like that were a normal thing to see in this profession. I’m sorry to say that I missed that first opportunity to stop. I was 14 and didn’t have enough common sense. Some time later, in an indoor fight, I had to stick my sword in five or six times to kill a bull. The poor animal, his entrails pouring out, still refused to die. He struggled with all his strength until the last breath. This caused a very strong impression on me, and yet again I decided it wasn’t the life for me. But my travel to Spain was already arranged, so I crossed the Atlantic. Then came the third chance, the definitive one. It was like God thought, “If this guy doesn’t want to listen to reason, he’ll have to learn the hard way.” And of course I learned.”

    • it is true. he did have this moment whether it’s happening in that picture or not, i’ve had similar experience with animals, plants, all living things and even you. I hope you can come to experience what you derisively call epiphany. I must admit you frustrate me and I think your position is destructive. The bull does look concerned in the picture.
      Love you.
      Christopher

      • I love your response. If we all had your compassion, we’d have a perfect world. God Bless you.
        Cyndi

        • This is total nonsense. He did not have this experience. Look at the facts. Read a little. Not everyone has the same experiences you do. Clearly what is compassion is a culturally situated reality. Also, the word epiphany is not negative and not being used derisively by the commenter above.

  3. I hate to break it to you, but that’s not Álvaro Munera, and he most likely explanation is that that matador is celebrating a great “success”. See my blog The Last Arena and the comments…

  4. Cruel, sadistic people with a love of bloody thirsty sport. There is absolutely nothing to recommend this picture . . .”This photo shows the collapse of Torrero Alvaro Munera, as he realized in the middle of the his last fight”

    Fame and greed take precedent over all. He could have quit at any time. I’m sorry but at the same time sort of content that the bulls finally go their revenge.

  5. This photo and these accounts are totally wrong.

    Alvaro Munera stopped bullfighting because he was put permanently in a wheel chair in his last bull fight.

    It’s touching, and I’m sure that Alvaro wished he would have had this moment on the photo, before he was hit by the bull. But it’s just not true, and should not be publicized as if it were. He was forced to give up being a bullfighter, it was not a choice.

    Read his interview here:

    http://open.salon.com/blog/addisonpg/2012/03/05/alvaro_munera_an_ex-bullfighter_tells_why_he_became_an_animal_rights_activist

  6. If it wasn’t his choice it seems like the wheel-chair is the best hing that happened to him to save his poor soul…

    • are you just teenagers trolling without understanding the repercussions?
      cruelty is cruel. we should all love each other. cut the crap, kids!

  7. Alvaro Múnera: September 22 de1984, in the bullring of Albacete, the bull “Velvet” hooked him by the left leg and lifted it, causing the fracture of the fifth cervical vertebra with spinal cord injury accompanied by irreversible brain trauma. He remained hospitalized paraplegic at the National Hospital for Paraplegics in Toledo for four months, after which, having failed to regain mobility, was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami (United States). He remained hospitalized for four years, and in that time recovered the mobility of their hands and could begin to move in a wheelchair. He also used to study Theosophy. He was eventually transferred back to Medellin to continue his recovery.
    While in Miami, became Múnera bullfighting, apparently due to criticism and accusations of murderer he received from others.

  8. I totally appreciate that Alvaro Munera had an epiphany about the cruelty of bullfighting and has taken a stand against it. It would have been better if it had come earlier while he was still fighting bulls and more dramatic as the story accompanying this story claims this epiphany was but, as they say in Spanish “Mas vale tarde que nunca.” What better advocate against bullfighting than a former bullfighter? Who else would bring as much publicity to the cause? According to his own account, it was during his rehabilitation in the US that he was exposed to a different attitude towards bullfighting and animals in general. Would he have had this epiphany if he had continued in the ring? It appears he was beginning to change his view before his accident but we’ll never know, given the culture he was in and those who depended on him to continue bullfighting, if he would have come to this opinion without the life-changing accident and his subsequent rehabilitation. I think the man is to be praised and applauded. This cannot be easy as his father was such an aficcionado of bullfighting and that he continues to live in Colombia, where bullfighting is still popular. He could have just stayed silent but he didn’t. Bravo, Alvaro!!

  9. yes, great that this spirit of Love came alight in his heart! King Carlos, take note, and throw all your fear-ridden fire-arms away!

  10. Or he is just tired

  11. Its a bit late Susy but well said and so true, and well done Alvaro Munera

  12. Cette photo est très belle mais certainement fausse puisque ce torero a arrêté de toréer suite à une blessure faite par un taureau qui l’a laissé paraplégique … mais l’image est belle et je l’ai récupérée pour mon blog

    This photo is very beautiful but certainly false since it stopped bullfighter bullfighting after a wound made by a bull that left him paraplegic … but the picture is beautiful and I have recovered for my blog

  13. What a load of bollocks. Munera is paraplegic having had his vertebra fractured when gored by a bull. This photo isn’t even him. Story tugs at the heart strings, yet proves to be utter shite. The power of the Internet.

  14. Truly astounding for this man to transform from his undoubtedly childhood dreams of becoming a great Matador and then to turn into a forceful advocate for the abandonment of this time-honored cultural tradition? Amazing!!! Bravo Munero!!!

  15. Alvaro is the Animal …

  16. this picture is a hoax and it is NOT Torrero Alvaro Munera who was NEVER a matador. He was paralysed as an 18 year old novice bull fighter in the ring in Colombia and while at college in the US some time later, having met with an anti bullfighting group, realised the perverted cruelty of bullfighting and converted to the cause of animal rights. Which I applaud. The photo and accompanying story however, are total bollocks!

  17. http://www.snopes.com/photos/people/munera.asp It’s a total hoax. That’s not Alvaro. In fact it’s a common stance taken by the torrero to show his dominance over the bull.

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