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New law to drive bullfighting out of Mexico City

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Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.
Mexico City’s massive Monumental Plaza de Toros may soon have to find a new use. Photo: Wikimedia Foundation

A new animal rights bill presented to the legislative assembly of Mexico City is expected to make bullfighting a thing of the past.

The proposed rules do not expressly target bullfights per se, but rather outlaw any form of animal cruelty in public spaces — effectively doing away with the practice. 

“This is not about politics, it’s about animal rights. Some traditions are simply not worth keeping,” said local legislator Ana Villagrán Villasana.

In a recent poll by Reforma, 59% of Mexicans said that they would like to see an end to the practice of bullfighting in the country.

The new law would punish bullfighting event organizers with fines of up to 4.5 million pesos.

Though top-billed bullfights in Mexico City are typically held at the Monumental Plaza de Toros, events are also known to take place at smaller venues, often semi-clandestinely — which makes regulation more difficult. 

Because the new law would only apply to Mexico City itself, it is likely that bullfighting organizers will choose to move their events to venues out of the city. The most likely locations include areas of  Estado de Mexico, which although technically not part of Mexico City, still belong to the same metropolitan area. 

Earlier: Bullfighters in Mérida say that it’s time for a comeback

Several Mexico City legislators have expressed their support for more strict animal welfare laws and an end to bullfights.

Twitter Caption: Several Mexico City legislators have expressed their support for more strict animal welfare laws and an end to bullfights. 

Critics of the move argue that the new law is unfair and is clearly designed to do away with the centuries-old tradition without addressing the question head-on. 

Despite growing support to end bullfighting, the practice is still popular among many in Mexico, especially in rural communities where it is part of annual local festivities. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

“We are not against reform, but it would be a tragedy to lose a tradition that has given so much to our country for five centuries now just because of fanaticism and political correctness,” said an official press statement issued by Tauromaquia Mexicana, a pro-bullfighting lobbying group.

Defenders of bullfighting also note that aside from being an important tradition, the “sport” creates tens of thousands of jobs and is an important tourism attraction. 

Bullfighting is legal in only a few countries besides Mexico, including Spain, France, Portugal, Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, and Ecuador.

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