The Mexico City Congress will vote on a bill that would ban bullfighting after the proposed law was approved by the legislature’s animal welfare committee.
Four members of the committee voted on Monday in favor of modifying Mexico City’s Animal Protection Law in order to prohibit bullfighting while a fifth member abstained.
Jesús Sesma, a Green Party deputy and president of the animal welfare committee, announced the committee’s approval of the initiative on Twitter.
“We’ll continue fighting to achieve its approval in the whole Congress vote. #It’sNotCultureIt’sTorture,” he wrote.
Speaking after the committee vote, Sesma noted that there has long been a push for bullfighting to be banned in the capital but efforts by former lawmakers to prohibit the bloodsport failed.
Bullfighting in Mexico City is currently exempt from a ban on activities that involve cruelty against and mistreatment of animals. The bill would prohibit public spectacles in which “bulls, steers and calves are mistreated, tortured or killed.”
If it becomes law, anyone who stages a bullfight could face fines of 4.9 million pesos (US $231,000).
Lawmakers are expected to vote on the initiative in the coming days. The Morena party is the dominant force in the Mexico City Congress, holding 32 of the 66 seats. Only one of the Morena members of the animal welfare committee attended Monday’s virtual meeting at which the vote was held and she abstained.
The absence of the other Morena members led lawmakers from other parties to question Morena’s support for the proposal. If most Morena lawmakers don’t support the initiative in the Congress vote, it would appear doomed to fail.
The four members of the animal welfare committee who voted in favor of the bill noted that the Mexico City constitution recognizes animals as sentient beings worthy of decent treatment. However, bulls in bullfights suffer mortal wounds inflicted by banderillas, they said.
Bullfighting association Tauromaquia Mexicana rejected the bill, characterizing it as an attack on a “cultural and popular activity established in our society for almost 500 years.”
More than 4 million people from “all strata of our society” attend bullfighting events every year, it said in a statement. The association also said that a ban on bullfighting in Mexico City would undermine an industry that contributed 6.9 billion pesos (US $326.1 million) to the economy in 2019, generates more than 80,000 direct jobs and pays annual taxes of more than 800 million pesos.
Bullfighting has already been prohibited in four states: Sonora, Guerrero, Coahuila and Quintana Roo. In contrast, the states of Aguascalientes, Tlaxcala, Hidalgo, Querétaro, Zacatecas, Michoacán and Guanajuato consider bullfighting intangible cultural heritage