Victories over Portuguese-style bullfighting
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 2008:
LISBON–A Lisbon court on May 30, 2008 granted the
Portu-guese organization ANIMAL an injunction prohibiting the
state-owned television station RTP from broadcasting bullfights
“before 10.30 p.m. and without displaying a sign indentifying the
program as violent and capable of negatively influencing the
personality development of children and teen-agers,” e-mailed ANIMAL
president Miguel Moutinho.
Presenting as witnesses two clinical psychologists, a
biologist, and a university professor of ethology, ANIMAL convinced
the court that bullfighting broadcasts in prime time violate
Portuguese law governing what may be aired when young people are
likely to be watching.
“Bullfighting no longer finds social acceptance in Portugal,”
contends Moutinho. “People mostly feel disgusted with bullfights.
They represent the worst of the relationship between humans and other
Seeking a national ban on bullfighting, Moutinho and ANIMAL
have this year persuaded multinational advertisers including Marriott
Hotels, Kodak, and Ben & Jerry’s to direct their Portuguese
affiliates to refrain from bullfighting-related promotions. Several
Portuguese firms have also withdrawn their support of bullfights.
The successes in Portugal coincide with the cancellation of
Portuguese-style “bloodless” bullfights formerly held as part of the
Irmandade Portuguesa da Festa do Espirito Santo, a celebration of
Portuguese identity held each May in Tracy, California, since 1926.
The bullfights were added to the event about 20 years ago, and have
not been held every year.
“At last year’s festa, police and animal rights observers
saw blood trickling from a bull’s eye and from his shoulder blades,”
wrote Jennifer Wadsworth of the Tracy Press. “From underneath a
patch of supposedly protective Velcro, blood streamed down the
animal’s shoulder. Another bull bled from an injury on his back. The
bulls’ owner, Joe Martin, was charged with animal cruelty. Prods
used in the fights are allowed only if blunted. Those used on at
least two of Martin’s bulls had metal barbs.”
Festa organizer Dena Silveira insisted that bullfights were
not held in 2008 only for reasons of expense.