Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Municipal council in Hidalgo decides kids shouldn’t be barred from bullfights

Children in Pachuca, Hidalgo, are free to attend bullfights and cockfights, municipal council members decided Thursday.

An initiative to bar minors from the fights due to the violent nature of the events was rejected by a vote of 11 to 5.

Biofutura, a non-profit devoted to biodiversity and animal rights, had lobbied in favor of the bill, which was based on an international recommendation by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child.

For years the committee has advocated for banning children from participating in or attending bullfights as it exposes them to extreme violence which, it says, affects their mental and emotional well-being.

Councilor Isabel Vite argued against the motion, saying there was no scientific evidence that exposure to bull or cockfights affects children.

The Mexican Bullfighting Association applauded the proposal’s defeat. “This preserves fundamental rights enjoyed by girls, boys and adolescents such as access to culture, the free development of the personality and freedom of expression,” it said in a statement. “Neither empirically nor much less scientifically is there evidence that proves that witnessing or participating in bullfights generates violent behavior or some other personality disorder.”

According to the federal Ministry of Agriculture, bullfighting generated 6.9 billion pesos, more than US $313 million, in 2019.

In Hidalgo alone there are 30 breeders of fighting bulls and bullfights are held in 60 towns. The state also has two bullfighting schools attended by over 50 children. 

A law banning bullfighting, cockfighting and other acts that cause suffering or harm to animals took effect in Quintana Roo in November, making it the fourth state to outlaw bullfighting, after Coahuila, Sonora and Guerrero.

Spain, France, Portugal, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, and Ecuador are the only countries that still allow bullfighting. 

Source: El Universal (sp), La Silla Rota (sp)

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