Corrida off heritage list

A bullfight in Arles

Animal rights campaigners celebrate as Spanish-style bullfighting loses official recognition

BULFIGHTING has been taken off France’s national list of ‘intangible heritage’ in what anti-corrida campaigners have hailed as a victory for their cause.

Countries are required by Unesco to identify and list cultural practices worthy of protection – some of which may later go on to be put forward for Unesco listing as world intangible heritage.

The inclusion of the corrida – Spanish-style bullfighting where the bull is killed, as practised in some southern French towns – caused a storm of controversy back in 2011. The Culture Ministry then removed mention of it from its website, but said this should not necessarily be taken as meaning it had come off the list.

Now a court has ruled to the contrary. In a case brought by campaigners wanting removal of the listing, the court threw out their case on the grounds that it was pointless because the listing has already gone.

The judge at the Paris Administrative Appeal Court said: “The evidence presented shows that the file on the corrida no longer appears on the ministry’s site and the corrida is no longer in the list of sporting practices that the site collates; this being so, its inscription on the French intangible heritage list must be taken as being annulled.”

This does not mean the corrida is banned, but is a blow to the practice’s prestige.

In Huffington Post the vice president of animal rights group CRAC Europe, Roger Lahana, said: “This is an immense victory for the fight against the corrida in France, and in the world of bullfighting generally, which is more and more constrained, and it is one more step towards the abolition of this barbarism from another age.”

Photo: Jean-François Le falher

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