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Where's the beef ?

By Mr Grumpy - Fri 25th Nov 2011

Expecting a Spaniard to be sentimental towards animals is like expecting a German to have a sense of humour.

(Ok, so I like a good stereotype, and have been taking lessons in advanced prejudice from Sepp Blatter, but bear with me to the bottom of the page if you have the patience...)

I don't eat Beef.

The reaction of most (British) people when you say you don't eat Pig is that it is for religous reasons. And since I don't look Hindhu people never seem to ask me that question. But they still ask 'Why ?'

I could say that I grew up on a Cattle Farm and had to handle cows on a daily basis. Fair reason, I suppose.

I could say that I had some far reaching paranoia about the Beef industry following the foot and mouth or BSE scare that seems to do the rounds every year.

I could say that when I worked (from home) in the UK, my office was surrounded on three sides by fields. Most mornings a herd of cattle would be staring at me just inches from my window. When I asked the farmer whee most of his cattle had gone - when he had plenty more of them just weeks ago, he aaked if I was aware that he also owned three butchers shop in the valley.

Or, I could say that I just liked cows.

As one response to the question sounds wet, one sounds lame, one sounds paranoid and one sounds Ghey, I have to pick and choose my reasons in accordance with the company that I am in at the time.

My mother still can't remember that I haven't eaten beef for 11 years (can't even remember that my Mrs of 15 years is vegetarian some times...) and expects me to 'forget' that she has given me a minced beef lasagne 'by mistake' and will try and back-track, declaring it to be lamb just seconds later.

But that is nothing compared to trying to explain the situation to a Spaniard.

Tip : Don't ever waste your time asking what meat is in the Albondigas - just choose something else instead.

Another Tip : Putchero ? It has EVERY meat in it, whether the waiter knows it, or is prepared to admit it. It is like a graveyard for farm animals.

But my fondness for cows also seems to make me unpopular with a small number of the locals around Fiesta time.

It nearly turned nasty last year at the Bull-run in the town when I gave an almighty cheer for the Bull when it had just shoved the larger of it's two horns up the arse of some half-drunk teenager who was in the ring taunting the animal in a bid to impress his mates.

Unfortunate or self inflicted ? - I can't even be bothered to debate the issue.

Funny when all the parents who were berating me for cheerring for the bull won't let their children play in the road incase they get hit by a car. They know the dangers, they know the risks and so they avoid the possibility of something unfortunate happening. How are things different when dealing with a half-ton bull ? You don't want to get gored ? - Easy - don't taunt it and don't stand in it's way and then, when it does gore some half drunk knobhead, don't blame the bull and call for it to be culled due to it being dangerous.

Bullfighting ? Different to bull-running altogether insofar as the Bull always dies at the end. Like Gladiators in Roman times, and Boxers today, the winner of a fair fight doesn't usually end up being killed anyway, but at a Bullfight the Matador always wins. Even though he has the assistance of around 8 'clowns' and numerous other assistants on horseback and with lances etc... incase he stubs his toe, he bravely faces the bull alone (not counting his army of assitants) and if the bull rather unsportingly defends himself against the spears and swords, the Matador is cheered as a hero.

I have no problem with Spain continuing with their cultural tradition and heritage of bullfighting and bullrunning aslong as they understand that I, like others I know, will always cheer for the bull.

And if that means a Spaniard, or unsuspecting drunken tourist, getting a horn up his backside then so be it, I have zero sympathy.

Comment on this Blog

This last week's "Horseburger" scandal only adds weight to my decision to refrain from eating Beef. Not that I can see anything wrong with eating Horse - I just prefer to know the origins of my food.
Mr Grumpy - Mon, 11th Feb 2013
Todays news seems to be full of the "Tragic Accident" whereby a Bull - whose horns had been set alight - fatally gored a man who had gathered to oggle this most ammusing spectacle. I have no sympathy whatsoever and think that there is a lesson here..... Don't set fire to huge 1 tonne animals, taunt and anger them, and then complain when they react in an unpredictable manner. I hope and expect that there are many more incidents like this to come.
Mr Grumpy - Sun, 22nd Jan 2012

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