Colombia one step closer to banning bullfighting

Bullfighting in Colombia, photo: Reuters
Bullfighting in Colombia, photo: Reuters

Colombia’s capital Bogota is set to ban the mistreatment and killing of animals in bullfighting in a move aimed at eventually ending the events altogether.

Bogota’s city council backed a draft law that would prohibit the use of tools that “lacerate, cut, maim, injure, burn or hurt animals in any form whatsoever, as well as putting a bull to death,” Andrea Padilla, a Green Alliance Party council member and the bill’s promoter, told reporters.

The move would also limit the bullfighting calendar to a maximum of three events per year in the Santamaria arena, which is run by the city hall.

Bullfighting has long been seen as part of the South American country’s cultural heritage, but in recent years slammed as cruel by animal rights campaigners.

While the power to ban bullfights remains solely with Colombia’s legislature, the city council is hoping that removing the goriest part of the spectacle will lead to an eventual end of the bloodsport.

Bogota’s mayor Claudia Lopez, a member of the Green Alliance Party, said the measures would be put into effect in a few days. “We want to respect all forms of life,” Lopez wrote on Twitter.

The president of the Bullfighting Corporation of Bogota, Juan Bernardo  Caicedo, was not happy with the decision and will try to stop it.

Bullfights have been held in Bogota since 1931, except during a four-year halt imposed under a former mayor Gustavo Petro in 2012. In a 2018 ruling, Colombia’s Constitutional Court ruled that bullfighting was part of the country’s cultural traditions and exempted the spectacle from animal cruelty laws.

Colombia is one of only eight countries in the world where bullfights are still held, along with Ecuador, France, Mexico, Peru, Portugal, Spain and Venezuela.  

Even in these countries, laws are increasingly putting restrictions on the spectacle. In Colombia, bullfights are staged in Bogota, Medellin, Cali and Manizales.

Source: AFP

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