TWO HOURS IN THE MARKET OF DEATH

Visit to the International hunting fair in Madrid

Aquí para Español

Not all ideas one has on a Friday night, are so wonderful on a Saturday morning. Although one usually realizes it well past the midday when, as in my case, one has to run away to keep the head in its place. Yesterday we had one of the most uncomfortable days that I can remember, since I started taking pictures for the project. We decided to go to the International Hunting Fair in Madrid. With my camera on my shoulder and in green jacket, there we were, pushing the cart of our baby girl dressed in leopard clothes (as cute as ever).

 

 

It is difficult to describe the feeling we had when entering the space, the word shock falls short for what we saw. Right after the security arches we found people, of all the ages, stacked up waiting to take a rifle and, pointing at each other, testing its sniper scope, waiting to check out the knifes, or to take a photo with one of the countless stuffed animals of the fair.

Having passed the second stand, we decided to take our daughter out of her feline suit, we were not up for jokes. We tried to recompose ourselves behind a line of children waiting for a bow, arrows and instructions to shoot some wooden animals. I was surprised by the number of families we found there, and groups of young people shouting their accomplishments of past weekends. Soon after, we came to a wall full of animal heads, the so-called "hunting trophies homologation board" (Government of Spain), an organization with more than fifty years of existence that establishes the score for each species hunted. There everyone took photos. In one of the posters you could read that, during that period of time, 77,720 heads had been approved as trophies, from the rare Boc Balear to Venisons. As if it was a Pokémon hunting game, the wolf was worth 41,80 points.

After leaving this wall of horrors behind, dodging all kinds of camouflage clothing and knives size XXXL, our next stop was a huge group of stuffed animals that served as a photocall for the so-called self-proclaimed "nature lovers". Flanked by two rhinoceroses, in this group there were giraffes, antelopes and other creatures that, very probably, are also part of the goodnight tales of those children modelling for the cameras. So, with a face of having no idea, I went to a counter to hear how much I would have to pay to kill one of those creatures.

 

 

Behind most counters were mainly girls, all very kind and most of them attractive. This particular girl presented me with a plan to hunt, a trip in which for only 3.450 euros I could get six trophies in five days. Yes, that's right, she told me, "for the same money as a national hunt would cost you" you can kill a Blesbok, an Impala, a Steenbok and three Warthog. Warthog? What is a Warthog? I asked, without having understood the previous names very well. A Pumba sir, a Pumba, answered the girl reminding me of the Walt Disney movie while handing me the menu for the other pieces. On the sheet of paper, I could see that for 8.500 euros I could also kill a buffalo, for 4.500€ a crocodile, for 8.500€ a hippopotamus and for 11.500€ a lion. All the prices were there as if they were part of a shopping list, all the prices except the ones for the White Rhino, the Elephant and the Leopard. For these I had to do another type of consultation in which, surely, my thick plastic glasses would prevent a sincere answer.

Stunned by what had just happened, I took refuge in the section of rifles and ammunition, away from taxidermy and the frequent safari offers in Africa. I entered the universe of technical issues surrounding death. There, before I even got to the counter where one could pick up cartridges to make a key ring, I stopped and observed something that, if told by someone else, I wouldn’t have believed it. I found three deaf men, in their sixties, gesticulating about the different types of bullets, and their effects. I thought I understood, according to their passionate gestures, that the bullet that crosses the animal from side to side is not good. After this brief explanation, one of the men pointed to another bullet on the list and started making big moves with his hands. That bullet seemed to be the one that exploded inside the victim to end its life, everyone agreed. To be receiving this information from pure body language made a big impact on me, but the man continued with hand gestures and facial grimaces. This time he pointed to a bullet and then to his belly, forming with his index finger a spiral that seemed to have no end. What else can I say, of course I took off, this time, to photograph furniture made of horns. Yes, you heard correctly, nowadays anyone in his right mind can furnish his living room with tables, ceiling lamps, chairs, shoe boxes and a long etcetera, made primarily with antlers.

 

 

At this point I was a bit dizzy and I still had the last corridor to visit. But things did not go as planned and I did not complete it. I was trying to photograph a stuffed leopard on a stand, when a man took me out aggressively. He seemed to know me and did not stop calling me activist and shameless, among other things. He started asking me, what was I doing there, who on earth had allowed me to enter. I tried to explain that the process of buying tickets is quite simple and that nowhere it didn’t say anywhere that photographs were forbidden, in fact, everywhere there were photographs of men of doubtful health lifting dead animals that many people photographed. He did not seem to understand what I was saying and really angry ran to get some help. Maybe it was to find a translator for what I was trying to explain or to give me a beating. Logically, I did not wait to see and we rushed out from that gloomy universe, disgusted and feeling sick to our stomachs. A surreal experience that I hope my daughter will never remember. Bless the little memory of babies.

To see all pictures, visit our Instagram

 

PRICELIST FOR SPECIES

BLACK WILDEBEEST

750 €

BLUE WILDEBEEST - MALE

800 € 

BLUE WILDEBEEST - FEMALE

400 € 

BLESTBUCK - COMMON 

350 € 

BLESTBUCK - WHITE

450 € 

BUSHBUCK

750 € 

BUSH PIG

500 € 

DUIKER

250 € 

ELAND

1700 € 

GEMSBUCK

800 € 

GIRAFFE 

2200 € 

HARTEBEEST - RED

800 € 

IMPALA - MALE

350 € 

IMPALA - FEMALE

150 € 

JACKAL

FREE

KLIPSPRINGER

900 € 

KUDU - MALE

1650 € 

NYALA

1950 € 

RED LECHWE

2500 € 

REEDBUCK - COMMON

800 € 

REEDBUCK - MOUNTAIN

800 € 

REEDBUCK - GREY

900 € 

RAON

7500 € 

SABLE

6000 € 

SPRINGBUCK - COMMON

350 € 

SPRINGBUCK - BLACK

500 € 

STEENBOK

250 € 

TSESSEBE

2500 € 

WARTHOG - FACO

225 € 

WATERBUCK

1400 € 

ZEBRA BURCHELL'S

950 € 

 

BUFALO

10.900 € 

RINO

3500 € / INCHES 

LEOPARD

ASK 

LION - MALE

11.500 € 

LION - FEMALE

6.500 € 

HIPO

8.500 € 

ELEPHANT

ASK 

CROCODILE

FROM 4.900 € 

RED LECHWE

ASK 

CAPE GRYSBUCK 

ASK

RED DUIKER

ASK

BLUE DUIKER

ASK 

BUSH PIG (WITH TRAP OT DOGS)

ASK

PORCUPINE

250 € 

VELVET MONKEY

50 € 

JUMPING HARE

25 € 

BABOON MONKEY

150 € 

OSTRICH

450 € 

 

 

RENTING OF DOGS

80 € / PER DAY

 

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