Bullfights Return to Mexico City: Animal Rights Activists Explain Why
Bullfights Return to Mexico City: Animal Rights Activists Explain Why It Is “an Act of Absurd Cruelty” Freepik

The Plaza de México is getting ready for the return of bullfighting, or 'corridas de toros' in Spanish, starting this Sunday, January 28.

After a year-and-a-half long hiatus, the 'toreros' will once again wave their red capes in an event that excites many and scandalizes many others, especially animal rights activists and environmentalists, who are organizing a protest at the doors of the world's largest bullfighting ring.

Bullfighting faced a critical blow when a judge banned it in June 2022, but the ruling was overturned by the country's Supreme Court of Justice and is now set to resume in the capital. There are already nine dates with tickets on sale to experience the "fiesta brava" once more.

Arturo Berlanga, Director of AnimaNaturalis in Mexico, said that the Supreme Court's decision did not imply that judges were in favor of bullfighting: "They did not examine whether bullfights are culture or traditions that should be protected or if they constitute torture and animal abuse. The Court only reviewed whether the requirements based on the injunction were fulfilled," he said to The Latin Times.

The Plaza de México is getting ready for the return
The Plaza de México is getting ready for the return of bullfighting, or 'corridas de toros' in Spanish, starting this Sunday, January 28. Alejandro Linares García/Wikipedia

Jose María Ferez Gil, Legal Advisor and Coordinator of the Bullfighting Department at the Animal Heroes organization, told The Latin Times that a district judge still has to rule on an indirect injunction, determining whether it is constitutional to maintain bullfighting events in Mexico City.

In his opinion, and considering that "the Constitution of Mexico City declares that all inhabitants have the obligation to take care of each other," the court is likely to declare bullfighting unconstitutional. "Bullfighting enthusiasts will probably appeal that decision and we may end up in the second chamber of the Supreme Court, where we are convinced that there are progressive ministers who understand that animals matter and want a Mexico without violence."

Marielena Hoyo, a journalist and activist for the rights of 'non-human animals,' served as the director of Chapultepec Zoo, the most important zoo in Mexico, for 15 years. She emphasizes the importance of ending these events not only to protect bulls from "torture" - "It is one of the most absurd cruelties in life" - but also as part of the fight against the violence that persists in Mexico.

According to figures from the Executive Secretariat of the National Public Security System (SESNSP), Mexico documented 30,523 homicides in 2023, a number that illustrates the security crisis and violence that the country has been experiencing for decades.

"If we have such high levels of violence in Mexico and we still promote a violent spectacle, what can we ask of those children who witness how celebrating blood in mistreated animals is justified? Bullfighting mistreats animals and puts humanity itself at risk," she said in a conversation with The Latin Times.

One of the arguments upheld by enthusiasts and fans of bullfighting is that the spectacle should continue because it's cultural, traditional, or artistic aspect. Férez Gil pointed out that "in a ruling by the Supreme Court of Justice that banned cockfighting in Veracruz, it stated that culture is only admirable if it brings good values to society."

He continued: "The fact that an activity is cultural or traditional is not sufficient justification for it to continue. In the past, practices like dog fights, women not being able to vote, or the LGBT community not being able to marry were traditional, but those became part of the past with scientific and social advances and the new generations, who are increasingly rejecting these violent spectacles."

Monumental Plaza de Toros México, Ciudad de México.
Monumental Plaza de Toros México, Ciudad de México. Augusto Rodin/Unslplash

Berlanga agrees on this point: "Only a very small minority of the country considers bullfighting to be a cultural tradition. The Ministry of Culture of the federal government recognizes only the cultural aspects surrounding the spectacle, such as paintings, music, or architecture, but has clarified that as a spectacle, it is against activities involving acts of animal cruelty."

Animal rights organizations are calling for a "peaceful" march this Sunday at 12 PM from Glorieta de los Insurgentes to Plaza de México.

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