The Plaza México bullring in Mexico City, where bullfights remain legal. The Plaza México bullring in Mexico City, where bullfights remain legal.

Complaint withdrawn; no ruling on bullfights

Promoters feared Supreme Court ruling would lead to further bans on bullfighting

A legal ruling that could have threatened the future of bullfighting in Mexico has been stopped in its tracks.

The Supreme Court was unable to uphold the constitutionality of a bullfighting ban in Coahuila this week because the company that challenged the state-based law decided to withdraw its complaint.

Consequently — at least for the time being — the blood sport known popularly as la fiesta brava does not face a legal question over its ongoing viability in the 28 Mexican states where it hasn’t been banned.

Promociones y Espectáculos Zapaliname, a Coahuila company that previously staged bullfights, had challenged the ban that was imposed by the state government in 2015, arguing that it violated freedom of work rights as set out in the constitution.

However, the second chamber of the Supreme Court looked likely to rule against its claim with one judge saying that “there are sufficient reasons to justify its prohibition.”

With that in mind, the company took the decision to halt its legal action to prevent a precedent being established that could have a negative impact on the survival of bullfighting at the national level.

The bullfighting industry feared that a ruling from the court declaring the prohibition constitutionally sound could give animal rights groups further ammunition with which to pressure other states to impose bans on the sport.

Nevertheless, sooner or later the court still may be required to make a ruling on the constitutionality of bans and in the interim the law preventing bullfighting in Coahuila will remain in place.

A federal judge has already upheld the legality of the Coahuila law after it was initially challenged by the complainant, leading the disgruntled company to seek recourse at the Supreme Court.

But José Fernando Franco González Salas, who has served as a judge of Mexico’s highest court since 2006, made it clear that he would recommend to his colleagues that the negative injunction be confirmed and the ban backed by the constitution.

Franco sited “a general societal interest” for the protection and preservation of all animal species as justification for the legislation officially known as the Animal Protection and Humane Treatment Law. He also said the ban avoided the transmission of negative values through acts that contain violence and the mistreatment of animals.

Coahuila was the third state to outlaw bullfighting following Sonora in 2013 and Guerrero in 2014.

Source: Milenio (sp)

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