A vote this month on banning bullfighting will be the first time the Assemblée nationale will have debated abolishing the custom.
Far-left La France Insoumise MP Aymeric Caron has brought forward a bill which is expected to be debated on November 24.
Article 521-1 of the penal code bans cruelty towards animals, but maintains an exception for the corrida in areas where there is a “local, uninterrupted tradition”.
Corrida is a Spanish form of bullfighting which typically results in the animal’s death. It still takes place in large arenas in French towns such as Nîmes, Dax, Arles and Béziers.
In 2020, the Court of Appeal of Toulouse ruled that the tradition exists in much of the south, including Provence, Languedoc and the Basque Country.
Eighty-one per cent of French people oppose bull fights where the animal is killed, according to a 2021 Ifop survey for the Alliance Anticorrida association.
Less violent traditions
There are other, less violent traditions.
In a course camarguaise, participants attempt to remove ornaments placed between the bull’s horns. The course landaise consists of trying to dodge horned cows.
Defenders of the corrida say it is an essential part of the feria festivals which attract millions of visitors to southern France.