Baja California might become the fourth state in Mexico to ban bullfighting as the state Congress prepares to vote Thursday on the controversial issue.
Members of the National Association of Bull Breeders and representatives of bullfighters and bullfighting aficionados appeared before lawmakers last month to make their case against a ban.
Among their arguments was that the industry generates 500 direct jobs throughout the country, along with indirect ones in restaurants, hotels and public transportation.
They said each bullfighting season contributes 200 billion pesos (US $11.3 billion) to the country’s economy, a figure that members of Congress found “somewhat exaggerated,” said Rodolfo Olimpo Hernández Bojórquez.
Those in favor of the state going through with the prohibition have created an online petition at Change.org. The petition reads, in part: “If we can convince lawmakers that there are thousands of us who oppose this cruel and inhumane practice, we could bring about a historic change.”
Over 150 civil society, artists and community organizations have publicly endorsed the petition, which calls on state legislators to “abolish bullfighting in the state and not let themselves be pressured by the bullfighting lobby,” alluding to the “exaggerated vision of the supposed economic benefits of bullfighting” presented by the bull breeders.
As of today it had garnered 88,842 signatures in favor.
Another petition for the no side is not doing as well.
“Let’s defend bullfighting in Baja California” says “thousands of jobs” are at risk because of a ban that would not only cause economic damage but end a 150-year-old tradition in the state. The petition had collected just 4,495 signatures by today.
The states of Coahuila, Sonora and Guerrero have banned bullfighting, a form of entertainment that has become increasingly unpopular in Mexico.
Deputy Hernández has publicly stated his personal stance against the sport although he has expressed his admiration for toreros, or bullfighters, and their dexterity.