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Montevideo, June 21st 2024 - 09:42 UTC



Bullfighting banned in Colombia

Wednesday, May 29th 2024 - 10:52 UTC
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People in the industry will undergo a three-year transition period People in the industry will undergo a three-year transition period

Colombia's Lower House Tuesday passed a bill outlawing bullfighting after four debates and 14 failed attempts, Congressman Alejandro García, promoter of the initiative, announced. “Colleagues, this victory is yours. Today I can say that the House of Representatives fulfilled Colombia by banning bullfighting,” he announced. “We knew it wouldn't be easy, but we never imagined it would be this difficult. This bill has fallen 14 times,” he also said. The ban will come into force in 2027.

President Gustavo Petro, whose stance against the activity has been notorious since his days as Mayor of Bogotá, celebrated the occasion. In his message on X, Petro congratulated “those who finally achieved that death is not a show.”

“Those who have fun with the death of animals will end up having fun with the death of human beings, as those who burn books will end up burning human beings,” he added.

With 93 votes in favor and 2 against, the House of Representatives gave the definitive yes to the bill, which also prohibits other types of “cruel entertainment with animals”, such as rejoneo (bullfighting on horseback), novilladas (bullfights with young bulls) and becerradas (bullfights with calves).

Interior Minister Luis Fernando Velasco said it was a “good message to a society that it should not turn the pain of an animal into a reason for spectacle and celebration.”

“The House took the most important step to combat animal cruelty. The political majorities approved the prohibition of bullfighting in Colombia. The initiative contemplates economic reconversion for those who depend on this activity,” he also pointed out.

The measure came as the Spanish progressive government of Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez is also seeking to terminate these practices after suppressing the National Bullfighting Award.

After Tuesday's approval, the next step is to blend the new text with the one passed by the Senate and have it ready for presidential enactment, which is believed to be a mere formality.

The new legislation would give people in the bullfighting industry three years to find an alternative source of income in addition to adapting bullfighting rings for cultural and sporting events.

“We did it, bullfighting is over in my Colombia!” celebrated Senator Esmeralda Hernández of the ruling Historic Pact and rapporteur of the bill in the Senate. However, she admitted that “the ban will not happen from one day to the next.” Therefore, “the families that live off the bullfighting sector will be identified and, based on this, an inter-institutional committee will be established to make the transition,” she added.

Senator Andrea Padilla, known for her animalistic fight, said in her X account: “As it is obvious, the bullfighting people will sue the law: Of course, we will be there to defend it”.

Bullfighting is a centuries-old tradition in Colombia, although its popularity has been declining in the country. In 2012, when he was mayor of Bogotá, Gustavo Petro prevented using public venues and resources for bullfighting, making it de facto impossible to hold a bullfighting season in the city. But corridas were held elsewhere such as Manizales and Cali.

Seven countries still allow bullfighting: Ecuador, Spain, France, Mexico, Peru, Portugal, and Venezuela.


Categories: Politics, Latin America.

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