Thursday, September 13, 2018

Of Fracking and Bullfighting

Is this Colombian animals' biggest problem? A Colombian bullfighter at work
this February in Bogotá's Santamaria Plaza.
Recently, there's been lots of critism to two activites in Colombia: fracking and bullfighting.

Both are questionable for different reasons. Fracking, which releases hydrocarbons by fracturing underground rock formations, can pollute water resources and cause minor earthquakes, according to critics.

And bullfighting seems like a holdover from the Dark Ages, which should have died out along with
witch burning and gladiator battles. Bullfighting is also cruel. And, making entertainmet out of killing an animal can only bring out the worst in spectators.

Nothing else to protest? Marching against
bullfighting in downtown Bogotá.
In recent months, fracking's opponents have lobbied, filed lawsuits and written opinion pieces calling for the procedure to be banned in Colombia.

And bullfighting's opponents have for years battled - futilely - in the streets, courtrooms and Congress to have the practice prohibited.

But fracking and bullfighting are only tips of the iceberg of the larger phenomena of the fossil fuel industry and animal mistreatment. Yes, fracking causes environmental damage, but so do the conventional oil and coal industries: they trigger deforestation, drive climate change, pollute the seas and poison the air when burnt. The oil shipping industry, like all shipping, damages marine life with noise, by transporting exotic animals and by collisions with marine mammals. In short, the fossil fuel industry's impacts are innumerable, and fracking is just a tiny part of that.

Is it fracking, or just oil? A  seabird dirtied by
spilled oil doesn't care where that oil came from.
And if bullfighting is cruel, practices such as cockfighting and factory farming are much crueler and affect many more animals.

But fracking, like GMOs, gets attacked because it seems new, strange and sinister.

And bullfighting represents many things despised by its leftist opponents: the wealthy, Mayor Peñalosa and the traditional landowning class.

And while both fracking and bullfighting are very questionable activities, the danger is that by obsessing with these two narrow issues, activists ignore the wider problems. And, if they actually win these two battles, they may feel that the larger battle is won and they can cease fighting.

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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