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It’s curtains for bullfight

Spain's bullfighter Jose Tomas performs at the Monumental bullring in Barcelona, Spain on Sunday.

Sport banned on grounds of cruelty to animals

Already at 4 am the crowds were swelling outside Barcelona’s historic bull fighting ring, the Monumental, desperate to get a ticket for the last-ever bullfight to take place here.

As the fight progressed, opponents of the blood sport celebrated their “moral and principled victory” outside the bullring, but mourned the fact that bulls were again being slaughtered in this final historic battle between man and beast.

Over 20,000 spectators watched spellbound as matadors and toreadors in full regalia, exquisitely embroidered with gold thread, now cajoled, now provoked bulls weighing anywhere between 500 to 700 kg. Twirling and twisting their capes with infinite grace to repeatedly stab the enraged animals, driving stakes deep into the neck and shoulders, they kept up the onslaught until the animals were felled, brought to their feet through exhaustion and loss of blood. Yelling and excited fans carried their heroes, the bullfighters Tomas and Safin Marin around the town after the bulls had been ritually slain.

“For many bull fighting fans, this is a personal tragedy. The corrida is in their blood and the fighters are their heroes. Special bulls, the most famous being the Miura from Seville, are reared for fighting and the end of the sport in Catalonia is going to mean the end of an industry,” Xavi Ayes, a journalist with the Barcelona paper LaVanguardia told The Hindu.

The Catalan Parliament last year outlawed bullfighting after years of protests by animal rights activists who said the sport was barbaric, inflicting untold suffering and horrendous injuries on the bull before the animal dies, vainly trying to defend itself.

Afficionados of the sport say that it is a fair fight between man and beast and that a tradition which dates as far back as 711 AD cannot be wiped out by a law they describe as “arbitrary”.

Six bulls and three bullfighters participate in the traditional bullfight, with each matador fighting two bulls.

“This is culture, this is tradition, this is beauty and art. None of those opposing the corrida have ever witnessed a fight. The men in the ring risk their lives and the bulls often get the better of them. The sheer beauty of the gestures, the grace, the courage required are phenomenal. Of course we are not stopping here. We shall challenge the law in court,” said Juan, a 57-year old fan.

Ernest Hemingway, who was a lifelong fan of bullfighting, wrote Death in the Afternoon, one of the most authoritative books on the sport which examines in great detail the traditions, uniforms, rituals and rites related to bullfighting. Ava Gardner, the 50s Hollywood siren known for legendary films like Gilda was also a fervent admirer of the sport and spent the last years of her life in Spain.

The Catalan case will be closely watched in other parts of Spain. Bull fighting, a great tourist attraction continues in cities like Madrid, Seville or Cordoba and there are some 600 bullrings across the country with over a thousand bulls killed each year.


How to Get Your Landlord to Let You Have a Dog

Whether you already have a dog or are planning to get one, convincing your landlord that your animal friend is not a danger to their property can be difficult. Landlords worry about property values as well as a dog’s behavior. Irresponsible dog owners may allow damage to the property or constant barking that may bother neighbors. Proving that you will be a responsible dog owner and that your dog is well behaved may convince your landlord to let you have a dog.


Anticipate your landlord’s objections. Consider if he is concerned about the size of the dog, the dog’s behavior, the dog’s energy level, or other issues.

Write a pet resume. Include information on the dog’s breed, the dog’s personality, and the dog’s history. Share your dog’s medical records and any certifications that it may have.

Show your landlord a picture of your dog, or introduce them. People often feel more comfortable about animals they have met in person.

Offer to sign an agreement to pay additional pet rent or to cover any and all damages resulting from the dog. Tell your landlord you are willing to pay additional insurance if the breed requires it in your city; pit bulls and large breeds sometimes need this.

Use any psychological or physical disabilities as a reason for needing your dog. Doctors, therapists, and psychiatrists may be willing to write letters to your landlord stating why this animal is necessary for your health.

How to Convince Your Mom to Let You Get a Pet

So you’ve decided that you really, really want to get a pet… but your mom really, really doesn’t want you to. You know you can convince her… you’re just not sure how to go about doing it. Is there any hope?

There is. I’m a mom myself, and I am going to give you some pointers on convincing your parents to let you get a pet. Unfortunately, there’s nothing that will definitely work. But there are some things you can do to improve your chances.

So c’mon, I’ll help you out!


The very first step you need to take is to think about what sort of pet you want. I know from lots and lots of experience that pets are work- a lot of work. Some, however, are a lot more work than others.

There is a big difference between taking care of hermit crabs, for instance, and taking care of a dog or puppy. In either case, there is a lot of responsibility involved. If your mom doesn’t want you to have a pet, it’s probably because she does not want to take the responsibility for having an animal. And she might be scared that you will not take responsibility. So let’s show her some proof that you will…

Once you have decided what sort of pet you want, think about what needs to be done each and every day, and then on a weekly basis. For instance, your pet will need to be fed and watered every day, but if it has a cage you will probably only need to change it out once a week.

Now make a schedule for when your pet will get taken care of. If it’s a puppy, it’s going to need to be walked. Are you going to get up each morning before school and walk it? Will you walk it again right when you get home from school? Write this down on your schedule. Think of each and every little thing that might need to be done, and write down when YOU will do it. If you might need a little help from your mom, write this down too. Don’t just overlook it if she will need to walk it while you have sports practice, because that will show her that you are not taking everything into consideration.

Think about where you will get your pet from. (One of the best possible places to get a pet is from your local animal shelter.) Also think of every single thing that your pet will have to have. Create a list: food, water bottle, cage, toys, etc. Check out to figure out about how much these items will cost, and write that down as well.

Now that you have your schedule written out, it’s time to go talk to her. But think about what you’re going to say before you go talk to her. Be ready to explain your side of the story calmly. This is not the time to whine or get frustrated and upset. The goal is to show that you are mature and ready to handle a pet. Show her your schedule and the other information you researched, and just be honest about what you’re thinking.

Be sure, though, that you only ask when she is in a good mood. You do not want to bring this topic up with your mother when she is having a bad day.

If you ask for a puppy or cat and your mother says no, you might reconsider what sort of pet you want. As mentioned above, puppies are so much more work than some other animals. Small animals like hamsters and guinea pigs, on the other hand, are a lot easier to take care of. They’re not as noisy, not as messy, and not as much work. If she really won’t let you get the first sort of pet you were hoping for, ask her if she would be willing to compromise on the pet issue by letting you get a smaller animal that is easier to take care of. Again, show her that you know exactly what is required of taking care of them, and that you are prepared to do so.

If your mom is just set against getting any sort of animal, you might want to think about how much responsibility you take around the house. Do you clean up your room without being asked? Do you have to be told to wash the dishes, or do you offer to help? Even if you can’t get a pet now, you might be able to try a few months down the road. Showing even more responsibility will improve your chances later.

Good luck! 

Tips on Pet Turtle Care

Care for your pet turtle the right way.

Turtles are popular pets among both children and adults mainly because they are seen as easy pets that require little care. Taking the time to learn how to care for a pet turtle the right way will provide you with a pet that will live for many years.
Water Levels

Make sure your turtle has plenty of room to swim.

Even a turtle that is only partially aquatic will need a sufficient amount of water to swim in. Your turtle’s home will need to have a section that contains water that is at least as deep as his shell is long. This will provide ample room for swimming while allowing your turtle to exit the water easily.

Most turtles need food in the water, so feeding dishes are not necessary.

Turtles benefit from a varied diet and need to have their nutritional needs met to maintain good health. Feed your turtle a selection of live or cut-up fish as well as beef liver or heart. Small insects with soft bodies, not including flies or ants, are also good sources of protein. Provide dark leafy greens, such as romaine and endive lettuce, or pond weeds, such as duckweed. Nutritional supplements made specifically for turtles can be mixed in to the food once a week to ensure proper nutrition. It is best to feed your turtle in the water section of the habitat because most turtles are able to swallow food only while underwater.

A sufficient turtle habitat needs to be at least as large as a 20-gallon aquarium for a small turtle. It will need plenty of room to roam as well as room for a water area. A dry area above the water needs to have rocks or plants in it to provide quiet places for the turtle to relax. An enclosure that is bigger in length than in depth is the best, and a simple wire top is all that is needed. The temperature of the turtle’s habitat needs to be maintained in the high 70s. A basking light needs to be hung above the habitat to provide an area where the temperature is between 80 and 85 degrees.

A turtle that is not active or is not eating well is most likely not in the correct temperature. Check the temperature of the habitat by placing a thermometer inside and adjust it as needed. A turtle that is not getting a nutritious diet will often develop a soft shell or one that thickens and curls at the edges. If this occurs, add more nutrients to the turtle’s diet.

How to Care for a Pet Turtle

So your little one dragged home a turtle and you have no idea how to take care of it. Relax, turtles are pretty easy pets to care for and, with a short list of supplies, you can be sure your new pet is happy and healthy.



Identify the species. Different species require different environments and diets.

Make an appointment with your local vet. If you have children who will handle the turtle, it’s especially important for a vet to check it for any diseases and other health issues.

Buy or build something in which to house your turtle. Make sure that he has plenty of room to move around and a water source. Place a rock and a lamp in one corner of the turtle house, and put sand or rocks on the bottom of the swimming area. Add sticks, grass, leaves or other decorative items to the house as well.

Clean the turtle house about once a week and take him to the vet at least once per year.

Make sure the area is secure before letting the turtle roam. Keep a close eye while he is out and try to limit his handling.

Tips & Warnings

Turtle diets vary widely by species so get a vet’s advice on what to feed him.

Some species of turtles can live longer than humans, so be sure you are ready to accept a turtle as a long-term member of your family.

Turtles that measure under 4 inches are banned for sale in the U.S.

Many turtles carry salmonella so wash hands thoroughly after coming into contact with them.

If you feel you cannot care for the turtle properly, do not simply let him go. The turtle has become dependent upon you for food, water and shelter and may not be able to fare on his own. Take him to the vet, a shelter, a zoo or call a local turtle rescue group.

How to Travel With Your Pet

With the number of pet-friendly travel modes and places of lodging, there’s never been a better time to travel with your animal companion. Make the proper arrangements to travel with your pet safely.


Check ahead if traveling by bus, train or plane for specific regulations applying to transportation of pets.

Provide a crate for your pet, and make sure the animal can stand erectly inside the crate.

Clearly mark the crate with the words “live animal,” if the animal is flying in cargo.

Provide a car seat that keeps the pet secure and able to see outside the car window when traveling by car, or put the animal in a crate.

Check with a veterinarian about administering a tranquilizer to your pet, though most pets don’t need them. Obtain a health certificate from a vet, if needed.

Contact a country’s consulate for information regarding vaccinations, quarantines and paperwork for international travel.

Consult books at your local library for dog-friendly motels and hotels, or check with your auto club.

Tips & Warnings

Seeing eye dogs can accompany a blind person on buses, trains and planes; remember to notify the company or airline in advance.

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