Berliner Tageblatt - Mexico leader proposes referendum on bull fighting in capital

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Mexico leader proposes referendum on bull fighting in capital
Mexico leader proposes referendum on bull fighting in capital / Photo: © AFP/File

Mexico leader proposes referendum on bull fighting in capital

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Friday suggested that a referendum be held on the future of bullfighting in the country's capital, where fights have been suspended since mid-2022.

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"Even if the legal process is ongoing, my recommendation... is to hold a referendum in Mexico City. In this case, I think it would be best for everyone," he said at his daily press conference.

Mexico is a bastion of bullfighting, and the more than 50,000-capacity Plaza de Toros in the capital is the largest bullring in the world.

The tradition has been in jeopardy since June 2022, when a judge ordered the indefinite suspension of bullfights, agreeing with animal rights activists who had filed suit over the centuries-old practice.

But on Wednesday, a panel of Supreme Court justices overturned the lower court ruling, which arena management says opened the door to the resumption of bullfights.

However, the lower court judge, who initially made the ruling based solely on technicalities in local law, will now offer his opinion on the actual practice. His decision could take the matter back before the country's high court.

Those who support a bullfighting ban say the law does not recognize animal suffering.

So far, only five of Mexico's 32 states have banned the practice, which was brought by the Spanish conquistadors in the 16th century.

Bullfighting is a moneymaker in Mexico -- in 2018, it generated $343 million and employed 80,000 people.

The debate over bullfighting has affected other countries in Latin America.

It is illegal to kill bulls in the capitals of Colombia and Ecuador. Venezuela has banned some bullfights.

But in Peru, the courts ruled against a ban.

In Europe, bullfights are legal in France, Portugal and Spain.

D.Schneider--BTB