A ban on bullfighting in Mexico, which was implemented last year, has been overturned by the country’s Supreme Court. Last week, a panel of five judges voted to lift the ban, which bullfighting organizations claimed violated their rights.
According to the Associated Press, the panel did not give an explanation for their decision. Supporters of the ban were outside the courthouse with signs that read, “Bulls Yes, Bullfighters No!” and “Mexico says no to bullfights.”
A ban on bullfighting is anchored by the argument that the sport represents cruelty to animals. “Animals are not things, they are living beings with feelings, and these living, feeling beings deserve protection under the constitution of Mexico City,” said city councilman Jorge Gaviño.
Critics of the ban argue that bullfighting is a 500-year tradition in Mexico and should not be taken from people who want to see the tradition continue.
“This is not an animal welfare issue. This is an issue of freedoms, and how justice is applied to the rest of the public,” said José Saborit, the director of the Mexican Association of Bullfighting. “A small sector of the population wants to impose its moral outlook, and I think there is room for all of us in this world, in a regulated way.”
Bullfighting has been banned in a number of Mexico’s 32 states, including Sinaloa, Sonora, Guerrero, Coahuila and Quintana Roo. Other Latin American countries that have banned bullfighting are Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay.
“We cannot hope to tackle violence in our society if we still allow animals to be stabbed to death for our entertainment,” said Felipe Marquez, animal cruelty program manager for Humane Society International/Mexico.