Bullfight TV debacle

in News · 05-07-2012 15:18:00 · 6 Comments
Bullfight TV debacle

Socialist (PS), social democratic (PSD) and Democratic and Social Centre – People’s Party (CDS-PP) MPs have slammed proposed law changes to end the showing of bullfights on Portugal’s public television channels, among other alterations, during a heated parliamentary debate on Wednesday.

The proposal put forward by the Green (PEV) and Left Bloc (BE) parties includes removing all public support for shows that inflict physical and psychological suffering or lead to the death of animals involved in bullfights, that bullfighting should no longer be aired on public service channels and the activity should be classed as an illicit show.

"Society should be heading in a direction of abandoning practises that are not compatible with the increasing statute of protection given to animals," said the Green party in a statement earlier this week.

The party also proposed for bullfighting to be classified for over 18s only when aired on television.

"This is a measure that aims to defend TV audiences, but also to protect children and youngsters from shows that do not teach respect for animals," read the statement.

MPs from all opposing parties with a seat in government, except socialist MPs Pedro Delgado Alves and Isabel Moreira, criticised the proposals during a debate on Wednesday, calling it "cultural censorship".

PSD MP Ivete Silva described bullfighting as "an integral part of Portugal’s cultural heritage" which is important for "local economies" before adding: "Our freedom ends when that of others begins."

CDS-PP MP Margarida Neto went further, accusing the BE and PEV "of not respecting cultural creation and national promotion", and considers bullfighting to be a Portuguese tradition.

"It is a cheap and grotesque attempt at cultural censorship," she said during the debate, receiving applause from many centrist and social democratic MPs.

Socialist MP Sérgio Sousa Pinto said that the point of view presented by the BE and PEV should "coexist with the others" and that MPs "should not try to capture the law for themselves" as their position "doesn’t have any moral advantage" compared to other points of view.

Speaking to Lusa News Agency this week, Diogo Costa Monteiro from pro-bullfighting movement Prótoiro, considers the proposal made by the PEV and BE parties is "in line with totalitarian and fascist regimes, demonstrating a total lack of respect for those who don’t think as lawmakers do."

He considers culture to belong to the people, not the state, and so "the state must defend and preserve culture, not create it."

For this reason and because PEV and BE "are against almost all activities related to animals" Mr. Monteiro says the proposals are contested by 14 other associations including the Confederation of Portuguese Farmers, the Portuguese Hunting Federation and the Portuguese Equestrian Federation, among others.

Responding to the criticism, BE MP Catarina Martins said the law proposals "do not seek to ban bullfighting" but do defend "that public resources should not be used in shows that inflict suffering on animals."

Not all opposition MPs were against the proposals however, with socialist Pedro Delgado Alves publicly saying he did not share his colleagues’ point of view.

"No-one’s freedom is at stake. What is at stake is the attribution of public funds that come from Portuguese tax payers, who both defend and do not defend bullfighting," he said.

Following the parliamentary debate, Sérgio Caetano, a Portuguese journalist who initiated the Movement for the Abolition of Bullfighting that won a hearing with the Prime Minister through a state-created initiative to find the country’s most popular cause, told The Portugal News that he is "not very surprised" by the reaction in parliament.

"Bullfighting is still legal, so there aren’t the conditions for such proposals," he said, adding: "by making them, there was the opportunity for bullfighting to be defended."

Since meeting with Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho at the headquarters of the Portuguese Government, São Bento Palace earlier this year, the abolition movement has worked on proposals for the government to consider.

"We are working on analysing the issue of bullfighting and have already submitted proposals for changes to be made, since our meeting with the Prime Minister," said Mr. Caetano.

Meanwhile, a Portuguese anti-bullfighting page ‘Anti-Tourada’ on Facebook, with over 190,000 followers has already commented on the parliamentary debate, saying: "The same MPs who favour cuts in true culture, in health, education and all other necessary services in our society, now defend the use of public funds for the promotion of bullfights! Why make cuts in healthcare, but maintain funding for a dying show that even tradition won’t touch? This is the tremendous dishonesty that the majority of our MPs demonstrate."


Everyone can have their opinion on bull fighting or any other barbaric entertainment.Which brings me to the real reason for Bull fighting,`Entertainment`for blood thirsty followers,who witness pain and needless suffering without blinking an eyelid, then go home and call themselves civilised.

by Trot from UK on 13-07-2012 08:20:00

Leave bullfighting alone. The deputies who made the point about cultural capture by the Left are right in my view. People can make up their own minds without continual state intervention or nannying by tree-huggers and their likes.
See http://www.french-news-online.com/wordpress/?p=2050#axzz20KMdGp7x

by French News Online from Other on 11-07-2012 09:10:00

The truth speaks for itself, nature will have its way of dealing with the mentally ill that fight bulls! If you cant see yourself out of the bulls eyes and relise the suffering and torment you're causing then you do have a serious delusion of life, which will ultimately lead to your own donwfall! Imagine killing your own family or passed away friends just because you never thought it was possible for them to live as a bull... the indifference of good men

by Kai from Madeira on 10-07-2012 10:59:00

Historically ... is this mutilation of bulls not even an Iberian tradition ? Consider Ponte de Lima's bull run 'dating from pre-Christian times with origins in ancient Egyptian cults brought to the Iberian peninsula by the Phoenicians and the bull being ' jabbed with goads ' before being chased by crowds towards the sea. So why this continuous nonsense that it is Portugals' culture - or alternately their forebears in what became Spain ?

by Eric from Beiras on 08-07-2012 05:58:00

Simple. Just ban bullfighting totally. It is not cultural. It is barbarism. And totally out of place in the modern world. Remove this stain on Portugal's character now.

by P Perry from Alentejo on 07-07-2012 11:06:00

Bull fighting is very cruel,the bull either dies in the ring, or dies in agony later from its wounds.This cruelty has no place in civilisation,no matter if its a tradition,Some Traditions in many cultures needs abandoning and this must be one of most meaningless.

by Troy from UK on 06-07-2012 09:06:00
Interactive Topics, send us your comments/opinion on this article.

Please note that The Portugal News may use selected comments in the printed edition of the newspaper.