While some states have outlawed cockfighting and bullfighting, both remain legal in Nayarit. While some states have outlawed cockfighting and bullfighting, both remain legal in Nayarit. DepositPhotos

Court halts state’s bid to designate bullfights, cockfights as cultural heritage

The ruling means blood sports won't get federal cultural heritage funding

The Supreme Court (SCJN) has invalidated a three-year-old decree that gave bullfights and cockfights intangible cultural heritage status in Nayarit.

Four of five Second Chamber justices voted in favor of revoking the decree, which also designated charrería (an equestrian sport), regional and state rodeos, horse races and the training of dancing horses as cultural heritage of the Pacific coast state.

The ruling came in response to a lawsuit filed by Cuenta Conmigo Tepic, a civil society association primarily focused on the delivery of food aid and environmental and mental health issues.

The SCJN ruled that bullfights, cockfights and the other activities are not deserving of intangible cultural heritage status. A majority of justices agreed that animals are not things at the indiscriminate service of humans but rather “species deserving of respectable treatment.”

Organizers of bullfights, cockfights and the other events have been able to access financial support from the government due to the cultural heritage designation, but the SCJN ruled that it was improper for such funding to go to activities that are not “generally accepted … by the community.”

The court made it clear that its ruling doesn’t ban bullfights or cockfights or declare them to be unconstitutional.

The Nayarit decree was presented to state Congress by former governor Antonio Echeverría in December 2018 and approved in May 2019.

Several other states have given bullfights and/or cockfights intangible cultural heritage status, while some have banned the blood sports. Cultural heritage declarations in effect in other states are at risk of revocation as a result of the SCJN’s ruling with regard to Nayarit.

A federal judge last week imposed a definitive ban on bullfights at Mexico City’s Plaza México – the world’s largest bullring – but the venue intends to challenge the ruling.

With reports from Milenio

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