Mexico City bars children from bullfights

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, December 2001:

MEXICO CITY–Mexico City mayor Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador told news media on Decem-ber 28 that he would not try to undo an ordinance barring persons under 18 from attending bullfights. The ordinance was part of a 70-article omnibus animal protection act adopted on December 27 by the Mexico City Metropolitan Assembly, 51-6. It was “pushed through the left-leaning assembly by the small but forceful Green Ecologist Party, which has long campaigned against bullfights and cockfights,” reported Los Angeles Times staff writer Chris Kraul.

Green Ecologist assembly member Arnold Ricalde told Kraul that the Greens would seek passage of similar ordinances around Mexico. “To kill for enjoyment is an act without justification,” Ricalde said.

The new ordinance was opposed, however, by Mexico City News columnist Ricardo Castillo Mireles. “Some assembly members are questioning their own vote,” Mireles said, “as they claim they did not see this particular provision” within the larger bill. “A main problem created by the new law,” Mireles continued, “is that young novilleros will no longer be able to cape at Plaza Mexico. In a business that needs to start bullfighters early, this could mean a death blow. Expect a very strong protest,” Mireles warned, “from Mexico City’s Taurine Com-mission, the bullfighters and cattlemen associations, and parents who want to retain the right to choose what their children should see.” But whether the bullfighting industry still has enough clout to win a reversal is uncertain.

“In exchange for their support in the 2000 presidential election,” Kraul wrote, “the Greens extracted a promise from
[victorious Mexican presidential candidate] Vicente Fox that he would not attend a bullfight or a cockfight until after the elections.” Implied is that the Greens enjoy more political support now than the bullfight promoters.

Similar legislation was proposed in Madrid, Spain, in January 1998 by regional government ombudsman for children’s rights Javier Urra, but was not enacted.

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