Mexico opened the door to banning bullfighting. The local Congress Animal Welfare Commission has approved an initiative that proposes to end bullfighting.
A week after the Monumental Plaza México organizes its big party, on December 12, the Guadalupana bullfight this year could be the last if the initiative materializes. The reform of the Animal Welfare Law provides for fines of up to 4.9 million pesos, or approximately $230,000, to those who organize this type of spectacle, however, the measure must still obtain a majority in plenary session for its final approval.
The bullfighting ban was proposed at the beginning of September last with “the objective of establishing a ban on holding public performances in which animals are subjected to acts of mistreatment and cruelty leading to their death”. The initiative was presented by deputies from six of the seven parties represented at the Mexico City Congress: Morena, government formation; the Party of the Democratic Revolution; the Green Ecologist Party of Mexico; the Institutional Revolutionary Party; the National Action Party and the Citizen Movement. Only the Labor Party did not join.
“This show is based on torture, pain and cruelty to the bull, as well as disregard for animal rights,” the proposal reads. Initially, the Congressional Social Communications Unit had announced that the notice had been approved since Monday. Only five of the nine members of the commission were present at this session, four legislators voted in favor and there was one abstention. Within the legislature, there were differences in the legal interpretation of the majority needed to approve the initiative, and the chairman of the committee, Jesús Sesma, of the Green Party, chose to call a new session some day later. later instead of initiating a dispute. Only five opposition MPs attended the session on Tuesday, who voted in favor of the initiative going to the plenary session. No lawmakers from Morena appeared on the commission.
“It’s a turning point,” Sesma says, “implies a change for the city and for all of Mexico.” The MP assures that the biggest obstacle the initiative faces before becoming law is the “commercial, economic and political pressure” of the sectors which oppose the ban. The Monumental Plaza de Toros México is the largest plaza in the world, with a capacity of over 41,000 attendees. “The industry around the bull generates a spill of 6.900 billion pesos per year, generates 80,000 direct jobs, 146,000 indirect and 800 million pesos in terms of taxes”, explains Jorge Cárdenas, president of the National Association of breeders of the Lidia bull in Mexico.
Antonio, an employee of a taqueria attached to Monumental Square, says the ban on bullfights does not threaten his activity, but would take away “additional income during the two main bullfighting seasons”. The Monumental is also used for concerts and some sporting events, such as the show that Roger Federer put on in 2019. The taquero says that once in a while he also goes to see the show, the entrance fee you pay is around 400 pesos. “They shouldn’t take away the taste of people going to bullfights, but maybe it would be good if they didn’t kill the animal. Maybe that’s how the problem will be solved,” he says.
The Mexican bullfighting organization, which brings together matadors, ranchers, businessmen and fans, denounces not having been summoned to this discussion “we were not invited although our sector is the most affected” , protests the bullfighter José Saborit, director of the organization. “Activists want to impose laws with lies. We are for animal welfare in the sense that the bull is an animal that in life is cared for better than anyone for human consumption,” he adds.
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During the day, several organizations and animal rights groups accompanied the discussion. “Most citizens reject bullfights. Politicians must listen to the public,” insists Franyuti.
The Mexican capital follows in the footsteps of another major Latin American city embroiled in the ban debate: Bogotá (Colombia). In the Colombian case, after the closure of Plaza Santamaría in 2012, bullfights returned in 2014 by order of the courts. Today, the city council has chosen not to ban bullfighting, but to discourage it through an agreement that prevents violence against the animal.
In Mexico, this is the third attempt to end bullfighting in the capital. Sonora, Guerrero and Coahuila already prohibit them; while they have been declared cultural and material assets in Tlaxcala, Aguascalientes, Hidalgo, Querétaro, Zacatecas, Michoacán and Guanajuato. Lawmakers are expected to present the initiative for plenary discussion within the next 45 days.
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