A proposal to ban bullfighting in France was withdrawn on the day parliament was set to vote on draft legislation that would have ended the practice.
Lawmakers filed more than 500 changes to the draft proposal, many of which aimed to take up parliamentary time and delay the vote. Aymeric Caron, the Member of Parliament (MP) behind the bill, decided to withdraw the proposal. “I’m so sorry,” Caron told the national assembly on Thursday as he announced the decision.
Though most French people are in favour of banning bullfighting, the bill was already expected to be rejected by most lawmakers who
are worried about upsetting the bullfighting regions in the country.
“We need to go towards a conciliation, an exchange,” France’s President Emmanuel Macron said, adding on Wednesday that he did not expect the draft law to pass. “From where I am sitting, this is not a current priority.”
Macron’s government urged members of the ruling coalition not to support the bullfighting ban, even though many MPs favour a ban.
Each year, around 1,000 bulls are killed in France, according to the National Observatory of Bull Cultures. Caron condemned the “barbarism” of bullfighting and “the hypocritical ceremony” in which an animal is massacred with such precision that it is “borderline sadism.”
The draft bill proposed modifying an existing law that punishes animal cruelty to remove exemptions for bullfights.
These exemptions are granted in towns in southwest France and along the Mediterranean coast, such as Bayonne, Mont-de-Marsan, Arles, Beziers and Nimes.
Some defenders of bullfighting in France found the focus on bullfighting hypocritical when animals killed at factory farms and industrial slaughterhouses are not discussed.
“These animals die too, and we don’t talk enough about it,” Dalia Navarro from the pro-bullfighting group Les Andalouses in Arles said.