The annual Senor de los Milagros (Lord of the Miracles) bullfighting festival at Lima’s Acho bullring has been canceled this year due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Bullfighting is a cruel ‘sport’ where bulls are brutally killed for entertainment. Animal rights activists worldwide have been fighting for decades to stop this extreme suffering for animals.
Bullfighting was brought to the Americas by Spanish conquistadors in the 16th century and has since become hugely popular among Peruvians of all social classes. Peru has more bullfighting arenas than football stadiums.
During the coronavirus pandemic, many countries had to cancel their bullfighting events. But the bulls won’t get to spend a lifetime in freedom; they are usually sent for slaughter since the owners have no use for them anymore, and it only costs money to feed them.
“There will be no bulls this year,” Rafael Puga, a 72-year-old retired Peruvian bullfighter who also rears bulls, told AFP. In Peru, “there must be 700 bullfights a year with 2,500 bulls killed” Puga said.
In Puga’s ranch 140-kilometers northeast of Lima, he has 400 fighting bulls and 140 mother cows. “We ranchers now have to live off other businesses. Some have even sent their bulls to the slaughterhouse, that is to reduce their animals to a minimum to cut costs,” said Puga.
Canceling the bullfighting event in Peru is good news for animal rights activists in the country. “There’s no reason for the bull festival to go ahead,” Luis Berrospi, an activist also campaigning against cockfighting, told AFP.
In February, Peru’s top court rejected a lawsuit brought by animal rights activists hoping to ban cock and bullfighting. More than 5,000 people had signed a petition demanding that “all cruel shows using animals” be banned.
The 14,000 capacity Acho bullring is currently being used to provide shelter for homeless pensioners affected by the pandemic.Donate