Bullfighting fails to draw crowds in Mississippi––and Spain & France
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November/December 2013:
JACKSON, Mississippi––“A small crowd” attended a
heavily promoted December 7, 2013 attempt to introduce Portuguese-style
bullfighting to the U.S., understated Roslyn Anderson of Mississippi
` “Based on the amount of cars at the event, we think there
were probably only 100 attendees,” said Shelby Parsons, one of 10
protesters who stood vigil outside the 2,500-seat Kirk Fordice Equine
Center. More than 8,000 people signed an online petition posted by
Kimberly Spiegel of Oxford, Mississippi in opposition to the so-called
Pledged bullfight organizer Peter Castorena to the Jackson
Clarion-Ledger, “At no given time will these bulls be Tasered or
mishandled. We’re even a lot more gentle with these bulls than
rodeos, because in rodeos they rope them, and we don’t even rope
But that did not sell the bullfight to either fans of violent
entertainment or the critics.
Bullfighting was spurned a week earlier in Barcelona when the
city government rejected the use of a photo of one-eyed bullfighter Juan
José Padilla to advertise the World Press Photo 2013 exhibition at the
Barcelona Centre of Contemporary Culture. Padilla lost the eye when
gored by a bull in 2011.
“We, and the majority of Barcelona inhabitants, agree with
the City Council decision,” Montse Ong of the Asociacion Defense
Derechos Animal told ANIMAL PEOPLE. Barcelona banned bullfighting in
2007, allowing a five-year phase-out.
Opposition to bullfighting in Barcelona, the capital of
Catalan, is intertwined with the Catalonian independence movement,
inflamed recently when Spanish justice minister Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon
pledged to block a referendum on separation from Spain scheduled by
Catalonia president Artur Mas for November 9, 2014.
But despite strong support from Spanish prime Minister Mariano
Rajoy of the center-right Popular Party, the prestige and popularity of
bullfighting has slipped even in Cådiz, considered to be, with
Madrid, one of the last strongholds of traditional Spanish corrida.
Pressing a case that originated in February 2012, Observatorio Justicia
y Defensa Animal on November 18, 2013 won the conviction of
bullfighter José Antonio Canales Rivera for abusing his horse with a
sharp metal bit. Rivera was fined 600 euros.
Observatorio Justicia y Defensa Animal believes the conviction
to be the first ever for animal abuse by a Spanish matador.
Spanish bullfighting attendance has fallen 40% in just five
years, while the number of scheduled bullfights has dropped from 3,295
in 2008 to 903 in 2013, of which fewer than 500 may actually have been
Data published by MundoToro in Spain and Revue Toros show a less
pronounced but steady decline of bullfighting in the few parts of
southern France that allow it, from 159 scheduled bullfights in 2002 to
121 in 2013.
But anti-bullfighting protest in France surged on October 28,
2013 at Rodilhan, near Nimes. Riot police fired teargas to disperse
about 750 demonstrators, including delegations from the Committee for
Animals in Peril, the Brigitte Bardot Foundation, and the U.S.
organization Friends of Animals.
Bullfight spectators attacked 60 protesters in Rodilhan in 2011.