Bullfighting: A Global Update
Efforts to end cruel bullfighting are ramping up, as people from all corners of the globe recognise that stabbing a frightened animal to death is not “entertainment”.
We recently represented the UK at the 2014 International Anti-Bullfighting Summit in Lisbon, which brought together groups from Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and the U.K., among others, to come up with new strategies for ending the barbarity of the bullfights.
Hot on the heels of the excellent news that India has just banned bullfights, bull races and the violent tradition of jallikattu, the following are some updates from other parts of the world:
- Spain: It’s long been common knowledge that the majority of Spanish people oppose bullfighting – in the most recent poll, 76 per cent of Spaniards said that they had no interest in the so-called “tradition”. In 2012, bullfighting was banned throughout Catalonia, including in its capital, Barcelona, and there’s now further evidence that the industry as a whole is in decline: according to CAS International, in 2013, there were 111 fewer events with bulls in Spain than in the previous year, and since 2008, the number of events has halved.
- Portugal: The country is currently considering a draft law to make the minimum age to participate in bullfights 16 years old. If the long-overdue law passes (which looks likely), children will be protected from having to put their own lives in danger while deliberately causing harm and suffering to animals.
- Colombia: The tide has been turning against bullfighting since 2012, when the capital city, Bogotá, banned bullfighting and transformed its bullring into a centre for culture, replacing the bloody and archaic ritual of torturing and killing animals with a celebration of contemporary culture that can be enjoyed by everyone.
- Ecuador: Quito, the country’s capital, banned killing bulls in 2011, and in 2012, bullfighting came to an end in the entire country because of high levels of opposition to the cruel “sport” among compassionate Ecuadorians.
- Worldwide: This year, the United Nations ruled that participating in and attending bullfights violates the rights of children and recommended that children should be at least 12 years old before they are exposed to this level of violence. This ruling could have an enormous impact on the future of bullfighting, because if children learn from an early age that torturing animals in this way is not acceptable, the industry will have no future.
While these promising developments encourage us to continue our fight for bulls, there is still work to be done before bullfighting is consigned to the history books where it belongs.
Three Things You Can Do to Help Stop the Cruelty
- Never go to a bullfight or attend events such as the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona. Many tourists don’t realise that they are propping up the vile bullfighting industry in countries such as Spain, where attendance by locals is dwindling.
- If you see travel companies advertising bullfighting or the Running of the Bulls, please let us know. We’ve already persuaded Thomas Cook, Brittany Ferries and others to stop promoting cruelty.
- Send a message to the European Union asking that it stop subsidising bullfights. An estimated £30 million per year goes to support Spanish bullfights – a shameful subsidy for a blood sport that is abhorrent to the majority of European citizens.