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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Bulls' Lives Again Are on the Line

Photo by ITAR-TASSA French bull that was to have been used in the Moscow corrida Sept. 8 and 9 being trained in the Moscow region on Aug. 29.
The 12 black bulls whose lives were saved when protesters convinced the city to ban a Portuguese corrida in Moscow earlier this month are once again waiting for their fate to be decided.

Either they and the 20 cows who accompanied them from France in August will be sent to the slaughterhouse or they will age gracefully under the care of a pro-Kremlin youth group.

The organizers of the bullfights no longer want to pay to keep the animals at a farm outside Moscow and are ready to sell them for meat. But Idushchiye Vmeste, or Moving Together, one of the most vocal groups protesting against the bullfights, is considering offering the cattle lifetime care.

"Of course, it would be silly if we fought to cancel the corrida only to prolong the bulls' lives by a mere couple of weeks," Denis Zaitsev, the group's spokesman, said Monday. He said Moving Together planned to sign an agreement later Monday with the corrida organizer, the Russian Academy of Entertainment, transferring the herd to the youth group, which was formed to support President Vladimir Putin.

"We are used to completing our projects and usually we do it successfully -- the corrida did not take place," said Moving Together in a press release announcing its intentions. "Of course, our organization is ready to take full responsibility for its actions. We will unquestionably add to our balance sheet 32 head of cattle."

The animals, now three to four years old, could live to be 15 or more.

The signing, however, was postponed at least until Tuesday, said Andrei Agapov of the Russian Academy of Entertainment. The terms were still being negotiated, he said, refusing to give details. Moving Together officials were not available Monday evening to comment on the delay.

"I really don't understand what the whole thing is about. They are just cattle. Thousands of them are butchered every day," Agapov said.

The farm agreed to keep the French-bred Bravo bulls and cows only until Thursday, he said.

Agapov said his company, which suffered a major loss when the mayor canceled the bullfights, filed a $648,000 insurance claim with Rosno insurance company and is awaiting a decision.

"The sooner all of it is over the better. I just want to finish everything related to this project," Agapov said.

According to Agapov, had the bullfights taken place, at least some of the bulls would have had a chance to survive because those that proved the best fighters would have been kept for breeding. The rest, though, would have been sent to the butchers. In the Portuguese corrida, the bullfighter rides a horse and the bull is not killed.

The cows were used for training the horses.