Visitors to our site will be aware of continued initiatives to ban the bullfight in France:
On September 21, the French Constitutional Council ruled that Alinea 7 of L. 521-1, an article which exempts bull and cockfighting from the French Penal Code, permitting these activities in those areas of France where they constitute an ‘uninterrupted tradition’, is constitutional.
France is currently the only country in the world to recognise the bullfight as an intangible cultural heritage. Bullfighting is only permitted on 10% of French territory – in the remaining ninety it is punishable by up to 2 years in prison and a fine of 30,000 euros. In a survey, 48% of the French described themselves as in favour of a ban on the bullfight over the whole country, whilst 42% agreed it should be allowed where the tradition exists. 10% did not reply.
The actors Brigitte Bardot, Alain Delon and Jean-Paul Belmondo published a letter asking for the Court to ban the bullfight.
Defenders of the bullfight enjoy the support of the present government, and the Minister of the Interior, Manuel Valls, is of Spanish origin.
He said to journalists from Midi Libre: « Several government members are aficionados [supporters]. We can block any plan [to ban it] »
Though they see in this decision a guarantee that bullfighting will be approved by Unesco as a cultural heritage of humanity, on August 30, Marie Aubert, member of the Minister of Culture’s ministry, told Claire Starozinski, president of Alliance Anticorrida, that this did not constitute the first step in such a procedure.
Anti-bullfight lawyers are now looking into the possibility of appealing to the European Court of Human Rights.
In the French parliament, Geneviève Gaillard, Socialist Party, supported by a large number of MPs, intends to try to get this exemption struck off and provoke a true democratic debate and vote on this subject. More than 90, 000 citizens support this, and 77 MPs, not all opposers of the bullfight, are in favour of debate.
Thanks to Alliance Anticorrida for allowing this translation of their report – and also to the Hispanic group Animanaturalis for more detail.
DEMONSTRATIONS IN NIMES, TOULOUSE AND PARIS
Saturday October 20.
Once more, Alliance Anticorrida organised a large rally in Nîmes, the centre of French bullfighting, to which many animal protection associations and individuals responded, denouncing the legal torture inflicted on bulls and horses in the ring.
This was a response to the Mayor of Nîmes, Senator in the French government, who is taking delight in the recent decision of the Constitutional Court, a refusal to remove Alinéa 7, which protects the status of bull and cock fighting in those areas of France where they enjoy uninterrupted tradition. (please see report above).
Allianceanticorrida.fr – click on the Stars and Stripes for an English version!
Good news: As a consequence of the demo on May 28 2011 and an excellent contact with members of the trades union Sud Culture, a motion has just been voted demanding the removal of the listing of the corrida as an intangible cultural heritage in France.
On Saturday October 20, there was also a rally in Paris on the Place Royal, protesting against the inscription of the corrida as an intangible cultural heritage and in support of the abolitionist Minister of Culture Aurélie Filippetti.
Campaigners reckoned there were some 1000 demonstrators in Paris, some coming from the north and as far away as Belgium and Luxembourg.
Allain Bougrain Dubourg, president of the Ligue pour la Protection des Oiseaux – League for the Protection of Birds – said that it was inconceivable and inadmissible that death inflicted as a spectacle should be part of French heritage, and that ethics will triumph over death…
Also joining with the demonstrators was the trades union Sud Culture.
At the same time, a delegation was being received at the Ministry of Culture, composed of, among others, the Fondation Brigitte Bardot, SPA (a group comparable to RSPCA) and CRAC Europe.
The demonstrations were covered very widely by the French media.
Jean-Pierre Garrigues Vice-président du CRAC Europe