Latest betizu in Bizkaia

1988/02/01 Otaolaurretxi, Jon | Oilarra, A. Iturria: Elhuyar aldizkaria

In the mountains of Bizkaia, between Gorbeia and Urkiola, is the hamlet Arkaola. We go up the road from Dima to Otsandio to the springs of the Indusi River and to the left we reach a hamlet located on top of the hill. There the psychiatrist Andoni Rekagorri has his betizu under the eyes of his farmer Pedro Elexpe. We present to you the interview that we have maintained with Andoni.
Branches in the form of liras.
Andoni. What are the betizu?

A.R.- Betizu is a cattle breed. As its name indicates are terrible cows, of forest, of mountain. Before that, people took these cows from the forest for meats and also made games in the villages. I think the current bullfighting has come out of those games.

What characteristics do betizu have compared to other cattle breeds?

A.R.- These cows remain all year in the forest; winter and summer. That is why they are adapted to the forest and besides the grass they also eat tongs, they take advantage of everything in the forest. The goats and the eyelids eat anything in the mountain, but the eyelids for the mountain are better, because the goats also do bad things, like the tips of the pine plants, and the eyes do not. Therefore, betizu are better to stay in the forest. However, their adaptation to the forest makes them better than raw cows.

The betizu are smaller and do not give the same meat as others. The betizus are of smaller size and red color, for being an ancient Pyrenean race. The pyrenean race is special and has been mixed with other external races to improve it. It is a breed of red color and with high peak. Its branches are slender and the sweet tips. It is of tip and red bark. They have hair under combustion, like those of yesteryear. They are tears.

What about behavior?

Governing the Andoni team.

A.R.- The calf of Arratia, small but hard, answers this question with the Basque expression. Being in the forest all year, he also makes the child on the mountain. Then the betizu has more milk. Then, in autumn, the calves are caught with dog (bull) and at home they are fattened or removed to the slaughterhouse.

Do you also take the calves in autumn?

A.R.- I don't. I keep the calves on the mountain all year. In winter I catch the calves and put them apart from the betizu so that every year do txahales. If not, every two years do the child.

Are the betizu you have on the mountain of pure race or mixture?

A.R.- Many mountain betizu are mixed with other races. I have tried to catch the cleanest, unmistakable, but many of them are not. I have four perfectly clean races and another eight somewhat mixed. One of them, for example, has lira shaped branches, but with the tips inclined backwards, and not toward the clear side. Another with the side tips, but too wide.

Another has the least red end, etc. Anyway morphologically I have four very clean, that is, clean phenotyping. But we still do not know what they are genotyping. We see it when the calves leave. If one comes out black, for example, the genotype of betizu does not belong to the Pyrenean race.

Are those who are free on the mountain racially clean?

Group of betizu.

A.R.- No, no. People have always looked at the economy. In Soria, for example, the biggest and toughest cows, those that have better performance if people hear that there are, from there they bring the cattle eliminating that from here. Hence, there are improved wet pyrenean cows for meat on the mountain. On the mountains here, for example, the betizu are on one side and the pyrenean cows mixed and educated on the other.

Being free on the mountain, we think that there will be much facility to mix the breed by itself.

A.R.- Now this is quite controlled. I have my betizu in the fenced territory and the others have their cattle on the mountain. The team keeps with its bull a fortnight of cows raised. Since the bulls of these teams are of pirenaica breed, no matter how much the bull of a group moves. In addition, people go once a week or to the forest to take over their equipment. However, these groups are formed by raw cows and their handling is very simple.

Logically, betizu control will be more difficult.

A.R.- Yes. It is more difficult. That is why I have them inside the barrier. If you exclude them, you will never see them. Not all day in the forest. If you are two hundred meters away and hear or smell, it is over. They hide themselves. They have a fine aroma.

And why do they have such good listening and smell?

Surroundings of Arkaola.

A.R.- Well. That is their defense. Your solution in case of emergency is to flee. If enemy comes, they go away. However, to know that the enemy arrives, they have to hear the noise. However, noise can be caused by many things, so they can identify the enemy through the smell. Hence its olfactory importance.

Today, however, there are no bears or wolves on the mountain. Now, what is your enemy?

A.R.- Now there are other enemies. For example, man. For them man is an enemy. In their instinct they tend to flee before a man, but if they cannot escape in a closed place, the stoves face the man. If they are in a broad place, they flee and defend themselves in a closed place. What with what? So with the branches.

And there are many Betizu in Euskal Herria?

A.R.- No, no. Some in the area of Goizueta, Navarre, and others in Lapurdi. In the mornings we do not know to what extent they are mixed. Before there were many: Gipuzkoa, Bizkaia, etc. Right here in the area of Dima, if four years ago it was a hundred. Not all clean, of course. I have tried to collect the cleanest. The cleanest morphologically and also the most resistant to behavior.

If you have not caught some, would the betizu be lost here?

The man escapes.

A.R.- Yes. If I had not caught some to keep them here, it was over. That's why I bought them. Just as the paintings of the painters have to be hung on their site, the betizu must be on the mountain. I have my own mountains.

And how did he acquire them?

A.R.- A farmer from here had forty betizu, another from Ereño had it, another hamlet friend (José Antonio), etc. When I came to live in Dima, I learned that there were betizus in the mountains from here and we were going to see it. But the Council began the health campaign. This will be done annually and for this, at least once a year, the collection, vaccination, tuberculosis, brucellosis, etc. They are analyzed.

Therefore, every year bulls, shotguns, etc. Every year you must go to the mountain to collect and introduce the betizu. That is very difficult. Catching a betizu on the mountain is a disease. You don't know how difficult that is. If you also have 40, tell us. Three betizu died by trapping a peasant. When I bought some I was killed twice when I weighed in the forest. They fight with the bulls, get into the river, branch out, how difficult is that job! Then the betizu may go off on the road, the road will close,… what a scandal is that!

The most beautiful of Andoni.

Seals are also made on the mountain. The Council also dedicated itself to the manufacture of the forests on the mountain, but the one year stands are broken for the following year. It is very difficult to have at hand the betizu.

So, what did the baserritarras do?

A.R.- The baserritarras began to put the betizus in a year and immediately took them to the slaughterhouse. Then I worried. That is impossible. I don't know what, but at least some should be preserved. So when the baserritarras were going to collect the betizu, I also accompanied me and bought some of my favorites. It cost me well, but I conquered twelve betizu and a calf. All the other betizu were lost. Only one shepherd has betizus on the mountain, but they are from another caste brought from outside, not from here.

You have few cows in your livestock. Will you not have problems of consanguinity later?

A.R.- Yes. Consanguinity can be bad or good. All races (limousine, txarolesa, etc.) They were born like this, with consanguinity. In fact, it can transmit everything about consanguinity: bad things (like a disease) or good things (like inflammation). Of course, if the cows have the characteristic of thinness in the genotype, over the years we will get slimmer and thinner.

The bulls are used to govern the betizu.

But if the betizu is soft and has brave children, mixing the male child with the brave mother will come out the next most ardent. Therefore, we must have that aspect of consanguinity, of transmitting only the positive qualities we want.

Of course, if you don't have consanguinity, you don't have to have that responsibility, but you can get a little more consanguinity.

But there is little genetic possibility for it, and if one gets a disease there is a risk of spreading it all.

A.R.- Yes. If evil comes by a way, we must withdraw that path. If one of my Betizu does bad child, you will have to remove it and put it with others. The thing can go wrong, but not necessarily.

The costs of this type of business will be high. Do you have any subsidy?

A.R.- Yes. This costs a lot of money. In the first years, in addition, if there are no bulls bravos you can not take them to the bullring. I want to send good bulls to the bullring, and in the first years you look at yourself choosing a lot. The betizu are not very expensive, but the facilities. They need more robust fences than any other cattle. Because if you get out, bringing is no joke. You have to rent the pastures, make the facilities for the truck, the platform for the lidia (temptation), so that the special seles have some bull apart. Therefore, the sum of betizus, facilities and lands entails high costs. The fire is expensive in itself.

Gorri, zezena.
I. Azkune Azkune

Of course. I have sought subsidies, but so far I have put everything. I buy a new car or buy this one, buy a house like this, go to the bar or go to the mountain to care for the cows, I have done this option. I have sought subsidies in the Diputación, but I have been told that subsidies are only for production livestock. Because here many do not know what a brave bull is. Some do know it and know it. But there are those in politics who are not. The bulls bravos tell you: Things about Andalusia, no?

The Basque Government should know the peculiarities of Basque animals, right?

A.R.- Yes. I was also talking to Jesús Altuna and he also said: This must be kept. That can not be lost. At least one reservation. Although it does not serve to produce meat, that is culture. Our descendants have to know here goats, betizu, pottokas, hamlets, etc. have been and are. In addition, the usual genetic reserve is also, and we do not know if within forty years it will be useful for production.

Loss of certain genetic characteristics (climate resistance, poor food survival, etc. ). ), then it can be necessary. The Council should take the seed of the bulls and keep it chilled. These things cannot be lost. After losing, searching is sad. The Diputación or the Basque Government should do something. I go and it seems to them very well, but from there there is nothing.

And in all those problems do you have personal satisfaction?


A.R.- Yes, a lot. Spending so much money without satisfaction... Above all moral satisfaction. My way of being is like this, my illusion. I keep something that others do not keep. I have made many friends thanks to my betizu. I am happy. Maybe within a few years something good comes out, maybe not. In any case, all research shows that, at least, we are neglected. Then another will not make me gullamos.

Thank you for all Andoni.