MEXICO CITY – Some 250 members of the AnimaNaturalis animal rights group staged a protest half-naked and covered with fake blood against bullfighting and to demand the prohibition of the practice in Mexico on the esplanade of Mexico City’s Fine Arts Palace.
“Youths from all the states of Mexico, half-naked, covered with blood and with ‘banderillas’ sticking in them showed (on Saturday) with this demonstration the suffering that the bulls are subjected to in the bullfights,” Leonora Esquivel, one of the leaders of the organization in Mexico, said on Saturday.
The “banderillas” are the long barbed darts bullfighters stick into the shoulder area of bulls to enrage and tire them out. The protesters had the banderillas attached to their upper backs, presumably with adhesive tape, for instance, not actually sticking into their flesh.
The animal rights defender said that the protest was scheduled to support the bill of capital legislator Cristian Vargas, who proposed prohibiting bullfighting in Mexico, and it was held on the eve of the opening of the bullfighting season – “regrettably the largest in the world” – on Mexico Plaza.
Esquivel said that Mexico, Ecuador, Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Spain, southern France and Portugal are the countries and regions where the practice, or “sport,” is allowed.
She added that in Mexico there is not a single town or city where bullfighting has been outlawed, although in other countries – including Spain – there are provinces and municipalities that have legally forbidden it.
“In Mexico there are even schools to teach how to torture the bulls and we even have the youngest bullfighter in the world,” Esquivel said.
The animal rights activist said that the aim of the campaign is to cut off the spread of this activity and see that it is abolished throughout the country where more than 70 percent of the residents are against bullfighting.
Israel Arreola, one of the campaign’s other organizers, said that Saturday’s protest was aimed at raising awareness about the brutality against bulls during what fans and aficionados refer to as an “art.”
In most of the world’s countries, bullfighting is prohibited as cruelty to animals, Arreola said, adding that every year some 250,000 bulls are tortured and killed for the enjoyment of the crowds.
“Nothing justifies the torture, humiliation and death that (are inflicted) on an animal against its will,” Arreola said.
Congressman Vargas introduced a bill in December to prohibit bullfighting, and the legislation is being supported by animal rights’ defense groups.
The organizations are calling for a consultation with the citizenry to “state the rejection of bullfighting among the greater part of the population,” animal rights activists said in a statement.