Children should barred from attending corrida bullfights in France, an animal welfare group has said after a survey it organised showed 86% of people in favour of such a ban, with 74% in favour of banning the shows completely.
In regions where bullfighting takes place, the figure drops to 67% of people in favour of banning bullfights, according to the poll by the Fondation Brigitte Bardot. When questioned about cruelty against animals more generally, 82% said that cruelty should be condemned in all cases, with no exceptions made for bullfighting.
Almost 4 out of 5 (79%) said that bullfights can no longer be considered as a performance in the modern day and age.
The survey follows a proposal submitted to the Assemblée Nationale by LREM MP Samantha Cazebonne in October to prohibit minors from attending bullfights.
Fondation spokesperson Christophe Marie said: “The proposed law is not only justified by the issue of the suffering of the animals but also by the studies which have been done on the impact of these acts of violence on children.
Defenders of the corrida argue that the English translation of ‘bullfighting’ is wrong as they consider it an artform rather than a sport.
In 2015, bullfighting was removed from France's cultural heritage list - but it is still permitted in parts of France that declare it a 'cultural exception' to the civil code that outlaws cruelty to animals. The penal code, article R654-1, states: “The requirements of the present article are not applicable to bullfighting matches when a local, uninterrupted tradition may be invoked.”
Every year up to 70 bullfighting shows still take place in the south of France, notably in Nîmes and Arles. There are two types of event - the first is the Spanish-style corrida, in which the bull is almost always killed, and the second is the Course Camarguaise. The latter is from the Camargue region of France (southwest of Provence) and involves participants trying to pull ribbons off the bull's horns.
The editor of the Facebook group Corrida – Les Jeunes pour defender la Corrida en France, Paul Pecastaing, 21, said: “Why ban a tradition that keeps an entire economy and several southern regions, cities and villages alive for young people?
“The government should not intervene in the education of children. Everyone should be free to educate their children as they wish as otherwise it would be a dictatorship. It is said that bullfighting has a negative impact on children, but this is completely false.
Read more: French anti-bullfighting group calls for teaching ban
“People who oppose children attending bullfights have got their priorities wrong. For example, consider the violence in the video games that young people are playing where it is possible to rape and kill people for free (GTA), or all the shocking images on TV.
“That is what is really dangerous for young people. And it’s not even a tradition.
“Bullfighting is a cultural heritage in the southwest that we were born with and we live with. We initiate our children into it. The idea of children not taking part in bullfighting is inconceivable to us. To ban the children from the arenas is to kill our heritage.”
Sign up to our free weekly e-newsletter
Subscribe to access all our online articles and receive our printed monthly newspaper The Connexion at your home. News analysis, features and practical help for English-speakers in France