Mexico’s Supreme Court lifts 2022 ban on bullfighting

6 December 2023, 22:44

Mexico Bullfighting
Mexico Bullfighting. Picture: PA

Mexico City had a history of almost 500 years of bullfighting, but there had been no fights since the injunction.

Mexico’s Supreme Court on Wednesday overturned a 2022 ban on bullfighting in Mexico City, opening the way for events to resume.

A panel of five justices voted to overturn a May 2022 injunction that said bullfights violated city residents’ rights to a healthy environment free from violence.

The justices did not explain their arguments for overturning the ban, but bullfight organisers said it violated their right to continue the tradition.

The capital had a history of almost 500 years of bullfighting, but there had been no fights since the 2022 injunction.

A crowd of people gathered outside the Supreme Court building holding up signs reading “Bulls Yes, Bullfighters No!” and “Mexico says no to bullfights”.

Mexico Bullfighting
A supporter of bullfighting confronts animal rights activists outside the Supreme Court (Fernando Llano/AP)

Critics say the fights inherently represent cruelty to animals.

“Animals are not things, they are living beings with feelings, and these living, feeling beings deserve protection under the constitution of Mexico City,” said city councillor Jorge Gavino, who has tried three times to pass legislation for a permanent ban. None has passed.

Bullfight organisers say it is a question of rights.

“This is not an animal welfare issue. This is an issue of freedoms, and how justice is applied to the rest of the public,” said Jose Saborit, the director of the Mexican Association of Bullfighting.

“A small sector of the population wants to impose its moral outlook, and I think there is room for all of us in this world, in a regulated way.”

Since 2013 several of Mexico’s 32 states have banned bullfights. Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Uruguay have banned bullfighting.

According to historians, Spanish conqueror Hernan Cortes watched some of the first bullfights in the city in the 1520s, soon after his 1521 conquest of the Aztec capital.

By Press Association

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