The bullfights ended in Plaza México. In the biggest bullfight in the world, located in Mexico City, there will be no more shows. Federal judge Jonathan Bass granted the final stay on Friday after an injunction promoted by the civil association Just Justice which considers that the “degrading” treatment of bulls violates the right to a healthy environment.
The Tauro Plaza México company, which operates the arena, and the government of Mexico City have 10 working days to challenge the decision in a collegiate court. While the judicial process lasts — which can last for months — activities are paralyzed.
In an unambiguous resolution, Bass describes a decision “that benefits all of society.” “The granting of the permanent suspension would not violate public order or affect the social interest but, on the contrary, would allow the authorities to exercise their legal powers to avoid the violation of the right to a healthy environment which causes wrongful death, cruel treatment and unnecessary suffering of the fighting bulls,” reads the document, which adds: “According to this logic, far from constituting an assignment to society, it would generate a benefit not only for the parties to this lawsuit but for all people who live in Mexico City and its adjacent environment, regardless of the ideological position they profess on bullfighting activities.
In a sentence of more than fifty pages, the federal judge breaks down the bullfighting language and details one by one the emotional and physical damage that bulls suffer during bullfights. It’s based on a document from PAOT, the Mexico government’s animal welfare agency, and a federal court ruling that describes “excessive and excruciating pain that ends in death by severe hemorrhage or respiratory arrest.” .
After proving that it is “a recreational activity in which an animal is injured, tortured and ultimately killed”, Bass resolves: “Society has an interest in respecting the physical and emotional integrity of all animals because they are living beings that make up ecosystems and, therefore, contribute with environmental services that are essential for human beings”. It also names the “intrinsic value that all animals have as sentient beings, including without exception fighting bulls” which is protected in the Mexico City Constitution.
Judge Bass grants this suspension as a precaution in the context of the amparo trial of the Just Justice association. This organization, which specializes in the defense of human rights, challenged the bullfighting regulations and the law on the celebration of public spectacles in Mexico City, considering them unconstitutional.
“This legislation dates back to 1995 and looking at it in the light of now, there is no congruence with the human rights protections that we have achieved,” says Denise Tron, associate attorney at Fair Justice. . The point of fair justice is that the cruel treatment of animals prevents people from enjoying a healthy environment – a right protected by Section 4 of the Constitution. This idea is aligned with the latest positions of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN),
Plaza México manager Mario Zulaica points out that this suspension will only be in effect for the duration of the trial, so “it’s not that far that this situation will be revoked”. “Bullfights are not declared unconstitutional, but rather are recognized by the constitution,” says Zulaica, who rejects the judge’s argument that bullfights harm the environment. “The brave bull lives and is bred for bullfighting, it would disappear if it had no other use then the ecosystem would suffer damage,” he said.
It’s been two weeks since the “suspended” sign was placed in the windows of Plaza México. On May 27, Bass, the first district administrative judge, granted the temporary suspension of bullfights. After the provisional suspension, Tauro Plaza México and the government of Mexico City appealed. However, it was thrown out in federal court on Wednesday. Two of the three magistrates of the Twenty-Second Collegiate Court in Administrative Matters, of Mexico City, considered that the suspension of May 27 was correct because “the right to a healthy environment was privileged”. The dissenting vote pointed out that the link between bullfighting and this constitutional right or the preservation of ecosystems is unclear. This Friday’s resolution from Judge Bass completes the decantation of the decision.
This ban only affects Plaza México in the capital, but it opens the door for other associations in other parts of the country to use it as case law. In Sonora, Guerrero and Coahuila they have also been cancelled. “It’s going to generate a domino effect and it’s going to force all the parties that have to do it to think about it, to ask themselves if the races can be done on the terms in which they have been done so far,” Tron considers. Mexico is one of the rare countries, with Spain or Colombia, to fervently maintain the bullfighting tradition. In seven states (Aguascalientes, Tlaxcala, Hidalgo, Querétaro, Zacatecas, Michoacán and Guanajuato) it has been declared cultural and material property.
The capital’s arena, called La Monumental, has a capacity of 50,000. To the political initiatives of recent months to try to stop the show have been added the drop in attendance, to which the coronavirus has given the final touch. Fewer and fewer events and fewer and fewer people. Bullfighting leader Pedro Haces, president of the Mexican bullfighting association, said in January that a ban on bullfighting in Mexico City would lead to the loss of 30,000 jobs.
At the moment there are no tickets for sale for any of the upcoming events, neither for the July 2 bullfight nor for the high season, with two bullfights and three bullfights, in September and October. “We must be responsible and respect the suspension of the planned festivities, but we will see what progress we have, see if justice can support us to shorten the deadlines”, explains the person in charge of the place, “while we will try to revoke the suspension”.
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