A provisional suspension of bullfights at Mexico City’s Plaza México became a definitive ban on Friday, but the bullring intends to fight the latest federal court decision.
Administrative court Judge Jonathan Bass Herrera issued a definitive suspension order against bullfights at the cavernous 42,000-seat stadium two weeks after he imposed a provisional suspension. His rulings came in response to a lawsuit filed by Justicia Justa (Fair Justice), a civil society organization.
Justicia Justa argued that the staging of bullfights violates a law designed to ensure that women can live their lives free of violence. It also also contended that two laws that allow bullfighting in the capital are unconstitutional because they allow bulls to be treated in a degrading and stigmatizing way.
It is the first time in its 76-year history that Plaza México – the worlds’s largest bullring – has been legally prevented from staging bullfights, although it didn’t host any for a year and nine months between early 2020 and late 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The suspension doesn’t apply to other venues where bullfights could take place, but Plaza México is the only one in the capital that has hosted such events in recent years.
The stadium said in a statement that it would postpone upcoming bullfights but “continue its legal defense of Mexican customs and traditions, exhausting all legal avenues within its reach [to fight] in favor of bullfighting.”
There were five events at Plaza México in April and May before Bass issued the provisional suspension order. No bullfights were scheduled for June, meaning that the first to be canceled due to the ban is that which was scheduled for July 2.
Plaza México said it was confident that bullfighting will be able to resume at the arena and it will be able to continue providing employment to people who work at such events. It said it hoped to continue operating as a bullfighting venue while “respecting the rights and preferences of each person … [but being] removed from individualistic views that affect our traditions and cultural values.”
Plaza México also said it would host non-bullfighting events that have already been announced as they are not subject to the judge’s ruling.
A lawyer who spoke with the newspaper Reforma said it was possible the definitive suspension order will be overturned, although a revocation would likely take months. Bullfighting at Plaza México is “salvageable,” said Eduardo Heftye, who is also the president of Bibliófilos Taurinos de México (Bullfighting Bibliophiles of Mexico), an association that promotes the bloodsport via the publication of books and hosting of conferences.
He said the stadium should occupy itself with fighting the court order rather than spend its time worrying about it.
“Bullfighting has always been attacked, whether for religious, economic or political reasons … but it always bounces back with … unusual strength,” Heftye added.