Lee Jin-gu: Deep affection for his Bulls. Slept with his bulls for a week.

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Our cockfighter’s love for our gamecock chicken species.

Their bullfighter’s love for their cattle species.

– Gameness til the End

PS

From Wikipedia:

Han-u (한우 in Korean, also Hanu, Hanwoo, or Korean native cattle) refers to a breed of cattle raised in Korea, Bos taurus coreanae, which may be a hybrid derived from the cross-breeding of cattle and zebu. Its maternal lineage is taurine (European-type) cattle.

Its meat is a favorite in South Korea. Despite its high price, many Koreans prefer Han-u to cheaper imported beef as the former is regarded as fresher and of better quality. One paper noted, “Hanwoo is regarded as a premium beef because of its high palatability and desired chewiness”. Since Koreans consider Han-u beef a cultural icon and one of the top-quality beefs of the world, it is used in traditional foods, popular holiday dishes, or as a special-day gift. Hoengseong County is best known for its Han-u cattle, where the environment is well-suited for cattle farming. The county began a strategic marketing campaign in 1995 to brand itself as the origin of the highest quality beef in Korea.”

South Korean bullfighting is for bulls only

CHEONGDO, SOUTH KOREA | BY EUN JEE PARK
Fri Apr 20, 2012 4:28am EDT

There is no blood, nor much gore. No matador, either, or even his colorful cloak. In South Korea, bull fights bull.

Weighing in at 600 kg to over 800 kg (1,322 to over 1,764 lb), dun-colored Korean Hanwoo bulls clash heads and horns in a sand bullring under the warm sunshine of Cheongdo, a rural town in the hills about two hours from the capital of Seoul.

Once a regular village entertainment in South Korea, bullfighting nearly died out as the nation rapidly industrialized, but festivals like the annual Cheongdo Bullfighting Festival help keep the cherished tradition alive.

“When I wake up, the first thing I do is train my bulls, letting them drag tires. Then, I feed them with nutritious porridge,” said Lee Jin-gu, a 59-year old rancher who has trained fighting bulls for seven years.

“I once stayed in the pens, sleeping next to my bulls for a week,” said Lee, who had four of his prize Korean bulls fighting their way through to the quarter-finals.

In all, 96 bulls are competing for the title of strongest bull during the festival, held April 18-22, for the top prize of 7 million won ($6,200).

In one bout, last year’s champion, “Fighting”, clashed with “Ggoltong”, which means “Dullard,” bellowing as he entered the ring and spectators cheered.

After about three minutes of shoving amid the clattering of horns, billowing dust and shouting fans, their duel was finished. “Fighting” made it through to the next round as his defeated opponent gave way and trotted from the ring.

The festival in its current form has been going on since 1999, although North Gyeongsang province has a history of the sport going back a thousand years.

Traditionally, a bull would have been the prized possession of a well-off Korean farmer.

“I was fearful if our bull lost the fight because my parents would scold me,” says Son Mal-jook, 68, who used to take fodder to the creatures when she was a young girl.

Cheongdo says that its bullfights are more humane than those in Spain because the bull is not killed by a matador.

“Spain’s bullfight is between man and bull and assumes that men will defeat bulls,” said Lee Joong Geun, county executive of Cheongdo. “But Cheongdo’s bullfighting is an energetic fight between two bulls.”

A carnival atmosphere prevails at the festival with cheerleaders and drummers prancing by the ring and a traditional band playing in a frenzy of gongs, drums and strings. Beer and local beef are sold at snack stands.

One U.S. spectator admitted to being initially bemused by the concept of a clash of the bulls, but appeared to have been won over.

“In the (United) States, I have seen rodeo, bronco riding, bull riding and also roping. But I have never seen two bulls fighting each other before,” said Maria Oliveira.

Lee Jin-gu, Fighting’s owner, confessed to a deep affection for his animal.

“It is a stronger devotion than parents might have towards their sons and daughters,” he said.

South Korean bull Typhoon and its trainer arrive before a fight at a bullfighting festival in Cheongdo, about 360 km (224 miles) southeast of Seoul, April 18, 2012. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

A trainer washes South Korean bull Kkoltong after a fight at a bullfighting festival in Cheongdo, about 360 km (224 miles) southeast of Seoul April 18, 2012. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

The owner of South Korean bull Lee Beom hugs the animal before a fight at a bullfighting festival in Cheongdo, about 360 km (224 miles) southeast of Seoul, April 18, 2012. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

South Korean bull Kkoltong and its trainer leave after a fight at a bullfighting festival in Cheongdo, about 360 km (224 miles) southeast of Seoul, April 18, 2012. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

South Korean bulls Jamiseong (R) and Daegam lock horns during a bullfighting festival in Cheongdo, about 360 km (224 miles) southeast of Seoul April 18, 2012. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

South Korean bulls Typhoon (R) and Lee Beom lock horns during a bullfighting festival in Cheongdo, about 360 km (224 miles) southeast of Seoul April 18, 2012. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

South Korean bulls Typhoon (R) and Lee Beom lock horns during a bullfighting festival in Cheongdo, about 360 km (224 miles) southeast of Seoul April 18, 2012. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji




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