A “bezerrada” – a bullfight against a calf of 1 to 2 years old, weighing around 250kgs – was scheduled to take place on June 19 09, at Lisbon´s Campo Pequeno Bullring. The so-called “star” of the bullfight was the French-Mexican 11 year old bullfighter Michelito Lagravère, whose participation in a series of bullfights in Portugal over this summer has unfortunately been exciting Portuguese bullfighting lovers.
However, following a formal complaint filed by Portuguese animal protection organisation ANIMAL, the Child Protection Services stepped in and banned his participation. ANIMAL highlighted the dangers for the child that this bullfight would pose and stressed how this would infringe existing labour legislation protecting children and particularly those who participate in cultural activities and spectacles. ANIMAL also pointed out that, under the article 32nd of the UN Convention on the Rights of Children, of which Portugal is a signatory state, it is not lawful for a child to participate in a bullfight.
As other bullfights with this child-bullfighter are scheduled to take place in Portugal over the next weeks and months during the Summer, ANIMAL is now increasing its efforts to prevent this from happening at any bullring in the country.
Last year, in France, the Attorney General´s office in two towns in the South of France, Fontvielle and Arles, also prohibited the young bullfighter from participating in bullfights there, following complaints filed by the French anti-bullfighting organization Alliance Anti-Corrida.
In Portugal, bullfighting is experiencing the strongest opposition ever seen, with ANIMAL securing consecutive victories and gaining terrain in campaigning to abolish bullfighting there.
This year, following an intensive anti-bullfighting campaigning work carried by ANIMAL, the Mayor of the Northern capital of Viana do Castelo declared this city Portugal´s first anti-bullfighting city. Subsequently, the mayors of Braga, Cascais and Sintra have also taken measures against bullfights in their towns. Through an intensive national and international campaign, ANIMAL also managed to stop the Regional Parliament of the Azores Islands from legalizing bullfights with Spanish-type “picadors”, which would add to the extreme violence towards the bulls that Portuguese bullfights already involve.