Ecuadorans pass constitutional amendment to ban cockfighting & bullfighting
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 2011:
QUITO–Ecuadoran voters in a May 7, 2011 referendum voted to
ban bullfights and cockfights that result in the animals’ deaths, as
part of a 10-point package of constitutional amendments proposed by
President Rafael Correa.
All 10 amendments passed, several after trailing at
mid-count. Topics included limiting banking activity by financial
service firms, prohibiting ownership of news media by non-media
companies, and prohibiting casino gambling. Opponents of the
amendment package alleged that Correa used the referendum to
strengthen his political position, including control over mass
media, and included the ban on lethal animal fighting to help
attract voters to the polls.
Correa muddled the scope of the ban on animal fighting during
the referendum campaign by telling Radio Huancavilca in Guayaquil and
the government news agency Andes that cockfighting would not be
banned, but he also told Andes that he was unaware that cockfights
usually end only after one bird is mortally injured.
“As well as ending killing bulls in the ring, voters
outlawed cockfighting,” confirmed Irish Times South American
correspondent Tom Hennigan. “The result does allow bullfighting to
continue so long as the bull is not killed, as in Portugal,”
Hennigan added. “In 2004, Ecuador’s third city, Cuenca, banned
killing the bull and only allowed the Portuguese version. Since
then, bullfighting has almost disappeared from the city,” Hennigan
Introduced to Ecuador by Spanish conquistadors in 1536,
bullfighting and cockfighting remain mostly pursuits of the
relatively affluent Spanish-speaking minority.
“Supporters sought to portray the proposed ban as an attack
on their freedom of expression and cultural heritage,” Hennigan
said, “and claimed an end to the spectacle would leave 100,000
people out of work. However the poor indigenous majority, from
which Correa draws his support, was little moved by the appeals to
what many see as a European tradition.”
Bullfighting has historically been shunned by native Andeans
as contrary to the teachings of the nature goddess Pachamama, and as
symbols of ethnic repression. Correa won the addition of a
constitutional amendment requiring respect for Pachamama via
referendum in 2008.