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In Which Latinamerican Countries Is Bullfighting Still Legal?

The tragic incident that occurred in a corraleja in Espinal, Colombia, revives questions about an activity that should not be allowed anywhere in the world

Bullfighter with his cape

Photo: Unsplash

LatinAmerican Post | Brandon Martínez Salazar

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Bullfighting is a practice that has been in the popular culture of some people for centuries. According to history, these events originated in Spain before Christ. Likewise, the purpose of this activity was exclusive to royalty to demonstrate their courage by facing a bull. However, this practice became so linked to traditional culture that it began to be related to the plastic arts, musical manifestations, flamenco, literature, cinema, and theater; becoming an exercise so admired that it lasted over time.

On the other hand, bullfighting also became a fundamental factor in the economy and a strong part of the cultural industry. However, in our recent history, killing an animal for recreational purposes is not very well seen by most countries in the world, where it is considered an illegal act.

Therefore, what happened on Sunday June 26 in Espinal, Tolima; reopens the debate on banning bullfighting in Colombia. In addition, it makes visible the legal situation in the nations that still allow it.

In which countries is bullfighting legal?

The tragedy that occurred on Sunday in Espinal, Tolima; which left four dead and at least three hundred injured, unleashed a wave of criticism about the bullfight in the country. President-elect Gustavo Petro himself called for an end to these celebrations.

Now, although in many places in Colombia it is not carried out, the legislation does not prohibit it in the national territory either. In the same way, in the world there are eight countries that continue to keep alive the legal figure that allows this type of event.

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The countries that allow bullfighting are:

Mexico: Some states prohibit the practice, others are allowed to do so.

Colombia: In Bogotá and other cities it is not authorized. But it remains legal due to lack of consensus in Congress.

Ecuador: In Quito it is forbidden to kill a bull in the ring, but bullfights are legal.

Venezuela: It has only canceled a few bullfights.

Peru: The justice of this country refused to ban them in 2020.

Spain: It was prohibited by law, but in 2018 a Court annulled it considering it unconstitutional.

France: In this country, it is considered National Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Portugal: Any law against it is considered unconstitutional.

What do animal protection organizations say?

For animal and progressive movements, the killing of an animal for recreational purposes is not conceived as a tradition. On the contrary, it is a practice that can be morally condemned since animals also have rights and, therefore, the suffering to which they are exposed cannot be used as a means of celebration, even if there are nations where bullfighting is still protected.

Meanwhile, Animanaturalis México is one of the organizations in the Aztec country that has fought for years to protect the rights of animals. Its purpose is that the Congress of Mexico City fulfills its constitutional obligation in their favor.

For IDPAC, an animal rights movement in Bogotá, bullfighting is not considered an art or culture. In the same way, many groups in the defense of animals fight around the world so that one day no animal dies for the simple pleasure of humans.

However, it is also necessary to point out that bullfights are not the only shows that are practiced with animals and that it is also necessary to open a debate on cockfights or dogfights, the purchase of exotic animals, circuses or rodeos. Also, there are cities that maintain horse carriages that exploit animals and do not comply with the minimum care with horses.