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Battle against bullfighting gains ground

Dec 3, 2008

More than 250,000 bulls are killed in bullrings all around the world each year

The international campaign against bullfighting gained momentum in South America in November, with the ‘cultural’ argument for bullfighting taking a battering.

In Venezuela, Carrizal declared itself a bullfighting-free municipality thanks to the campaigning efforts of local WSPA member societies FAMPROA and COPETSMIN.

In Colombia, a groundbreaking decision by the nation’s senate resulted in the bullfights of the famous Feria de Cali carnival being denied cultural heritage status.

Culture no excuse for cruelty

Feria de Cali runs for seven days each December and attracts thousands of people.

Although the carnival itself was awarded cultural heritage status in principle by the Senate, the bullfights were not, thanks to an amendment supported by WSPA and put forward by Senator Elsa Gladys Cifuentes.

“This amendment is a landmark achievement,” says WSPA regional director for South America, Luis Carlos Sarmiento.  “It is the first time that the Colombian senate has agreed that bullfighting is not a key part of our cultural heritage.

"It shows public opinion is changing and the Senate’s decision represents a nail firmly knocked into coffin of bullfighting. I can see a time in the not too distant future when the fights will no longer be part of this event.”

Unfit viewing

Dying out: Recent legislation shows South American public opinion is slowly turning against bullfighting

In Ecuador the anti-bullfighting campaign has also been successful. Thanks to the efforts of WSPA member society Proteccion Animal Ecuador (PAE), bullfighting has been banned from television during the times that young people might be watching.

PAE demanded that the country’s television commission enforce legislation prohibiting the broadcast of images of cruelty and violence from 6am to 9pm.

Young people under 18 have also been banned from the bullrings of Guayaquil due to PAE’s efforts and Quito is likely to follow suit during the next season.

“These significant achievements in Venezuela, Colombia and Ecuador represent great strides forward in the battle against bullfighting and show how anti-bullfighting and pro animal welfare feelings are growing in the region,” says Luis Carlos Sarmiento.

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An injured bull bleeds during a bullfight, Spain