When Animals Fight Back: Recent Stories of Animal Vengeance

by Rabb!t / Earth First! Newswire

El Toro de la Vega Tournament, 2012. [photo: la marea]

El Toro de la Vega Tournament, 2012. [photo: la marea]

We live in a world of unfathomable animal torture and extermination. Trawling vessels and driftnets scrape clean the ocean floor; factory farms and vivisection labs disassemble and commodify mammals by the thousands; wolves are driven to the brink of extinction by hunters who claim to be protecting deer populations, populations they hunt just as feverishly. In the midst of such incomprehensible animal slaughter it’s always refreshing to recognize the animals who fight back against their oppressors, enacting vengeance for themselves and their kin in one of the few ways they can: bloodshed.

With this in mind, I’d like to share a few recent stories of heartwarming animal vengeance.

First, there’s the Frankenstein-esque story of the cloned cow who brutally attacked her “creator,” Professor Park Se-pill of Jeju, South Korea. Park “created” the cow for research purposes using cells from the ear of a bull—though, according to Intellihub.com, “In the years since the cloning took place the research has been uneventful until this recent attack.” Park was video-taping the cloned cow when, in the first eventful bit of research in her four years of life, she attacked the scientist for fifteen minutes, causing a spinal injury and five broken ribs. Park will need eight months of treatment before recovering. The professor didn’t seem too phased by the incident, however, and said he would take part in reports even if he has to be in a wheelchair.

One might find it ironic that while in one part of the world scientists are making clones from bulls, in another part bulls are speared and killed for entertainment. I’m referring to “Torneo del Toro de la Vega” (The Meadow Bull Tournament), held each year in Tordesillas, Spain.

During this event, “[t]he bull is driven by horsemen wielding spears across the bridge from the town to a meadow (vega). When it reaches the meadow across the river it is finally allowed to receive a lethal lance from one of many competing lancers pursuing the much debilitated animal on foot. During the run (corrida) lancers are only permitted to wound the bull. The person who finally delivers the fatal blow is entitled to cut off the bulls [sic] testicles and parade them through the town impaled on the tip of his spear. The City then awards him a gold medal and a commemorative forged iron spear [wikipedia].”

At this year’s Torneo del Toro de la Vega, the “580-kilogram (1,279-pound) bull named Vulcano first managed to gore a news agency photographer and another person… The bull gored Agence France Presse freelance photographer Pedro Armestre in the right thigh Tuesday after it was set loose amid thousands of people and the spear-bearing horse riders. AFP says in a statement that Armestre was conscious and taken to a hospital for surgery. Another unidentified person also suffered a non-life threatening goring [AP/Exposing the Big Game].”

Like a riot cop in the face of peaceful protestors in bandanas and Guy Fawkes masks, this bull clearly had no problem taking aim at reporters simply “doing their job.” It may also seem ironic to some that the photographer could have avoided danger by instead documenting any of the thousands of animal rights activists who protest this annual event, or even the Animal Liberation Front who, though often labelled terrorists, live by nonviolent guidelines (taking “all necessary precautions against harming any animal, human and non-human.”) Maybe next time.

Lastly, a tale of poetic justice. As reported by CBS Cleveland, a woman in Kentucky who had accrued a legacy of animal abuse charges going back to 1986, including second-degree cruelty, was found dead in her home. Well, part of her was found, anyway—her skull and jawbone were intact. The rest of her was missing, apparently eaten by the dozens of the wolf-dog hybrids she kept on her property.

Thankfully, after a long history of animal abuse, which included an incident in 1999 when “159 of 184 dogs she had were euthanized,” 67-year old Patricia Ritz was finally able to give back to the circle of life.

A rescue group called Adopt-A-Husky is currently trying to find rescues and sanctuaries for the 50 wolf-dogs that roamed Ritz’s property. Visit the Adopt-A-Husky website to find out more about their rescues and ways you can help.

For more stories of animal vengeance and resistance, check out Jason Hribal’s highly acclaimed book, Fear of the Animal Planet: The Hidden History of Animal Resistance [AK Press, 2010]. From AKPress.com: “Taking the reader deep inside the circus, the zoo, and similar operations, [Hribal] provides a window into the hidden struggle and resistance that occurs daily. Chimpanzees escape their cages. Elephants attack their trainers. Orcas demand more food. Tigers refuse to perform. Indeed, these animals are rebelling with intent and purpose. They become the true heroes, and our understanding of them will never be the same.”

Hribal was recently a guest on anarchist hip-hop artist Sole’s podcast, “Solecast,” where they discussed animal resistance, animals’ roles in building and shaping our civilization (against their wishes), and Hribal’s new project which involves wild horses in the United States. The author also discussed a few topics submitted by the Earth First! Journal on twitter (@EFJournal), including how veganism fits into the animal liberation movement (both positively and negatively), and whether rats are consciously anti-civilization. A truly unique and thought-provoking interview.

Finally, if you haven’t already, go out and see Blackfish, a new documentary from Magnolia Pictures about Tilikum, an orca who has taken the lives of several people while in captivity. Like Hribal’s book, the movie makes the argument that this animal wasn’t acting senselessly, but rather was consciously resisting the oppressive conditions into which he’d been forced.

Rabb!t is a member of the editorial collective of the Earth First! Journal and Newswire. He can be reached at rabbit[at]earthfirstjournal[dot]org. If you appreciated reading this, please consider subscribing or donating here.

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