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Bogota Mayor takes public stance against bullfighting

Jan 19, 2012

A bull suffering stab wounds collapses at a bullfight, France

The Mayor of Bogota has publicly stated his opposition to the cruelty of bullfighting ‘shows revolving around death’

Like other countries where bullfighting is still legal, Colombia has witnessed a public debate on whether the blood sport of bullfighting is acceptable in modernity or whether it should be banned for good and consigned to history books. Those opposed to the cruelty received a strong voice in support of the campaign, through recent statements by the new Mayor of Bogota. The Mayor of Bogota, who holds the second most important political position in the country, declared himself against bullfighting and announced that no money from city-owned enterprises will fund the bullfights this year as they are a “dated practice that glorifies animal mistreatment and death.” 

Mayor Gustavo Petro said that he would like to change how the local bullring La Santamaría, considered the most important bullfighting stadium in South America, is used: “It is a public place… and it should be used for the city’s numerous cultural events. But it should be closed to any possibility of shows revolving around death. All shows, culture, and art revolving around life are welcome.”

WSPA welcomes this positive statement of support and congratulates the Mayor for his bold but timely stance. The Mayor’s powerful voice joins those of thousands of Bogota citizens who have stated in many surveys (min 6:05) that they do not agree with the cruelty of bullfights and are not interested in attending such events. Bullfights are currently legal in Colombia because the national animal protection law has exemptions for bullfighting, cockfighting and coleo. Although bullfights are traditionally organized in January and February each year, the number of fights has reduced each year. 

Keeping an electoral promise

“When he was a candidate, the Mayor told WSPA supporters that there will be no room for spectacles around death in Bogota. That is exactly what we are expecting to happen! We want to see bullfighting be banned in the city, setting an example for the rest of the country, where many bulls die in the name of entertainment,” said Ricardo Jimenez, WSPA Communications Manager who leads the campaign against bullfighting, ”In the mean time, by this powerful statement the Mayor is helping to turn the cruelty of bullfights into a huge national discussion.”
Last year, WSPA launched a campaign to persuade Mayoral candidates in Bogota to include animal welfare issues, including bullfighting, in their campaign proposals.
As the bullfighting ban comes into effect in Spanish Catalonia, the bullfighting industry has started to feel the power of anti-cruelty campaigns worldwide. Current restrictions on bullfighting in Ecuador have given the local anti bullfighting movement hope that we can achieve something similar in Colombia. Besides that, several provinces in Colombia have already made statements against bullfighting, including the municipality of Zapatoca that has declared itself as being opposed to bullfights.

Demonstrating public support

The anti bullfighting movement is organizing a march in several cities of Colombia on the 4th of February to take advantage of the momentum. One of the key demands from those that will join the march on that date is for more legislators and politicians to take a public stance against bullfighting and help achieve a bullfighting free Colombia.

Click here to read more about WSPA’s campaign to end bullfighting, including the recent enforcement of the ban in Catalonia, Spain

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