Thursday, November 1, 2012

Is Bullfighting Back for Bogotá?

Back in business? Young men train to become bullfighters in the Plaza Santamaria in Bogotá.
A long tradition: A mural in the National University
portrays ancient bullfighting.

The other day, a high court ruled that bullfighting is a Colombian tradition, and therefore municipal governments cannot prohibit it.

The fight over bullfighting is far from over, since Bogotá Mayor Petro has made ending the fiesta brava in Bogotá one of his most high-profile causes. He has talked, for example, of the city's zoning to ensure that the Plaza Santamaria can never again host a bullfight.
Anti-bullfighting activists carry a banner
 on Plaza Bolivar.
But the bullfighters, and their powerful allies in business and government, will defend their profession.

In Medellin, municipal leaders have proposed non-kill bullfighting. But that would take away much of the art for the toreros and aficionados. And

Bullfighting memorabilia for sale on a Bogotá sidewalk. 
the bulls would just be killed afterwards, out of sight, so what's the difference. Apropos of that point, I read somewhere an animal rights advocate's sarcastic proposal that bleachers be set up in slaughterhouses for bullfighting fans. I'm all for the idea - not so much to replace bullfighting, but to improve what very possibly are horrifically inhumane conditions in the meat industry. I have never heard, in any case, of anybody monitoring industrial farming's practices, much less protesting against them.

A young bullfighter shows a young tourist how to hold the cape.

An anti-bullfighting banner on the plaza's entrance says: 'There's no going back' on the bullfighting ban. 

Bike tourists in the Plaza Santamaria.

The Moorish Plaza Santamaria in Bogotá.
Bike tourists play at bullfighting in the Plaza Santamaria. 

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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