Colombia Votes to End Bullfighting: 93 Yes to 2 No — A Landmark Decision for Animal Rights

May 30, 2024
1 min read
Petition to ban Bullfighting. Photo Credit: Columbia
Petition to ban Bullfighting. Photo Credit: Columbia

The House of Representatives of Colombia approved the prohibition of bullfighting on Tuesday. In a half-filled chamber, there were 93 votes in favor and 2 against —out of a total of 188 members—. Now, the project must go through reconciliation between the text approved on Tuesday and the one previously defined by the Senate, to then be sanctioned by President Gustavo Petro, one of its supporters. There is unlikely to be any setbacks —failures in reconciliation are unusual— and Colombia will likely thus leave the small group of eight countries in the world that still allow bullfighting.

The ban on bullfighting will come into effect three years after the approval of the project, in 2027. The aim is to have a transition period in which bullfighting arenas throughout the country become venues for concerts, theater plays, chess championships, and entrepreneurship fairs. The report presented by Representative Alejandro García, of the Green Alliance, needs to be approved in the Senate. Once the Senate greens the bill, it will be sanctioned by President Petro.

García recalled after the approval that the initiative had faced several obstacles in recent months and had tried 14 times, after which it finally becoming a law. He also called on bullfighting enthusiasts to participate in the conversion of bullfighting arenas into cultural spaces. 

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The representatives who left the chamber to avoid voting on the initiative mostly belong to the Democratic Center and Radical Change, both right-wing opposition parties. Congressman Christian Garcés, who hopes the Constitutional Court will overturn the approved text, insisted until the last minute on an alternative project to regulate bullfighting and reduce animal abuse —without eliminating deaths—. A repercussion of the decision would leave thousands of people without jobs, which happens whenever a transition occurs. Similar issues arose when circuses were banned or even hunting was illegalized in many countries. 

Petro had promised during his campaign that he would put an end to shows involving animal abuse, as he did in Bogotá when he was mayor (2012-2015). He had repeated similar sentiments on several occasions before being elected as the first leftist president in decades. Already in power, Petro reiterated his desire to end bullfighting. 

Petro, for his part, conveyed his message on X, congratulating those who succeeded in stopping death from being a spectacle. He emphasized that those who take pleasure in the death of animals are likely to eventually take pleasure in the death of human beings.

Govind Tekale

Embarking on a new journey post-retirement, Govind, once a dedicated teacher, has transformed his enduring passion for current affairs and general knowledge into a conduit for expression through writing. His historical love affair with reading, which borders on addiction, has evolved into a medium to articulate his thoughts and disseminate vital information. Govind pens down his insights on a myriad of crucial topics, including the environment, wildlife, energy, sustainability, and health, weaving through every aspect that is quintessential for both our existence and that of our planet. His writings not only mirror his profound understanding and curiosity but also serve as a valuable resource, offering a deep dive into issues that are critical to our collective future and well-being.

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