France Rejects Animal Campaigners’ Pleas and Declares Bullfighting Legal

Judges say a ‘long tradition of bull-fighting’ shouldn't be ignored. Protestors argue laws shouldn't be ignored in regions where it takes place.

The right of anybody in France to bullfight has been upheld, infuriating animal rights campaigners across Europe, including the UK. It follows calls from high-profile showbusiness campaigners including Brigitte Bardot and Jean-Paul Belmondo to see the bloodsport made illegal. The Paris Constitutional Council, which adjudicates on contentious state issues, ruled that there was no need for the so-called ‘corrida’ to be banned.

The judges said an ‘uninterrupted and long tradition of bull-fighting’  should not be ignored simply because of animal rights protests in certain regions where bullfighting is still practiced. These are mainly southern departments, where bullfighting events are well attended and attract some of the best matadors.

On Saturday Jose Tomas, killed five bulls and spared one for his ‘brave fight’ in the city of Nimes.

There are other, uniquely French, versions of the sport which include people in the Languedoc trying to grab rosettes from a disorientated bull’s head.

Protestors like Miss Bardot, the 50s sex movie star who became an international sex symbol, stressed that strict animal protection laws should apply equally across France, and should not be ignored in regions where bull-fighting takes place.

Former culture minister Frederic Mitterand had actually placed the bloodsport on a ‘heritage list’ – leading to furious protests from animal rights groups.

And Manuel Valls, the current Interior Minister  who was born in Spain and moved to France as a child, this week  made a passionate call for the corrida to be allowed, saying: “We have to preserve our culture – we need these roots, we should not pull them out.’

Around 1,000 bulls are killed in French bullfights every year, with demonstrators from the UK among those who regularly complain about this.

Bullfighting originated in Spain, but moved to France around 200 years ago, mainly through Spaniards emigrating across the border.

A ban on bullfighting came into force in Spain’s Catalonia region this year.

Animal Equality has long campaigned against bullfighting and cruel fiestas. We urge people not to visit bullfights and other events in Spain that involve the torturing of animals.