Two French MPs, one from the Socialist Party and the other from the centrist UMP, have joined forces in the National Assembly to declare war on bullfighting and cockfighting – according to them, « barbarous spectacles » which France should no longer tolerate.

Geneviève Gaillard (PS) et Muriel Marland-Militello (UMP), respectively president and vice president of the parliamentary study group on animal protection, last Wednesday presented to the press a bill aiming to ban the practices.

The text aims to delete Alinéa 7 from the Penal Code, which otherwise provides for penalties of 2 years in prison and fines of 30,000 euros for serious harm inflicted on animals. The exemption allows bull and cock fighting where they are local, uninterrupted, customs.

Some 700 bulls are killed each year in some 100 corridas in the south. Cockfights are still popular in the north and overseas provinces.

Mme. Marland-Militello claimed that a large majority of the French support this humane struggle, a noble cause which goes beyond party politics.

Either the government or a parliamentary grouping must have this text tabled on the agenda, which is far from happening yet. At the moment, there is, as Mme Gaillard put it, « radio silence ».

The two MPs condemn the power of the pro-corrida lobbies, with their links to the National Assembly, who will do their best to see this text does not get onto the agenda.

Jean-Marc Roubaud, MP for the Gard, with its strong bullfighting tradition, is a signatory to the text and says he has been the object of almost a fatwa on the part of certain local politicians.

This proposition has been co-signed by 12 MPs –  Socialist, UMP and Nouveau Centre.

The names of a group of vets opposed to the corrida have been made public, of whom several were present to witness to “the total suffering, physical and psychological”, of the bulls.

The psychiatrist Jean-Paul Richier one by one demolished the arguments of the pro camp – economic, societal, aesthetic – notably the one which maintains that bullfighting is « an escape valve for violence ».

N.B.  Madame Marland-Militello first presented her bill in 2004. It did not get onto the legislative agenda, but since then more than 60 French MPs have signed up; now that  MPs of the two main parties have joined up, the Socialists are allowed to sign too, which party discipline did not previously permit.

~  Thanks to the excellent campaigning group CRAC for this good news. – in French.