|Too cruel? A bull and Spanish bullfighter in the Santamaria plaza.|
(Photo: Fernando Vergara)
But bullfighting is a throwback to an era of bloodsports such as bear baiting, and many sociologists believe that violent entertainments like these promote a more violent society. The proposed law says its goal is to 'strengthen cultural citizenship for peace, respect for life and integrity of sentient beings, by eliminating bullfighting as an expression of violence and cruelty.'
|A bird stands over a defeated foe in an |
illegal cockfight in the United States.
(Bullfighting-related violence goes beyond that between bullfighter and bull. This year bullfighting returned to Bogotá after five years, igniting huge, violent protests. The last Sunday of bullfighting, a bomb exploded on the sidewalk above the plaza, killing two police officers and injuring some 20 people. The government blamed the ELN guerrillas.)
|A young man confronts police during anti-bullfighting protests early this year.|
|Young men wrestle a small bull in a corraleja.|
But if that is the law's authors' concern, then why don't they just prohibit children from attending bullfights? And how about protecting kids from all the violence in movies, television and video games?
Bullfighting gets picked on because it's conspicuous and associated with the wealthy and the landowning class. But of the various ways in which Colombians mistreat animals, it seems like one of the most minor. Banning bullfighting may very well be a good thing, but it's only a first step in protecting animals from abuse.
An afterthought: Bogotá's La Santamaria Plaza is a handsome building, located in the center of the city, with seating capacity for more than 30,000 people. Whether bullfighting returns to there or not, the building should be used for other events, such as concerts, art exhibitions and the like. Instead, it's sat empty for the past years.
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours