Bill for immediate ban on bullfights debated in Parliament

By TPN/Lusa, in News · 05-07-2018 13:56:00 · 0 Comments

People-Animals-Nature (PAN), a political party with a single deputy in Portugal’s parliament, has submitted a bill to ban all bullfighting in the country that is to be debated on Friday and which fans of the spectacle dismiss as showing preconceptions and mainly aimed at garnering public attention.

The bill, which has just three clauses, summarises its objective as follows: abolish bullfights, revoke all laws that go against that principle, publish the law and let it take immediate effect.
PAN’s only MP, André Silva, told Lusa News Agency that ending bullfighting “is the general feeling of Portuguese society, what is felt on the street, what is felt on social media.”
The degree of rejection of bullfighting, he said, is “enormous because this spectacle is based on torture”. As an “developed and progressive society and country”, he argued, “we are ready to reject [the idea that] mutilating and tearing the flesh of an animal, making him spit blood, is a cultural tradition.”
For bullfighting aficionados, the association Prótoiro accuses PAN of a “desperate attempt to gain visibility” and generate “media folklore” with a bill behind which is a “demagogic and antidemocratic” intention.

In comments to Lusa, the association’s executive president, Helder Milheiro, cited the country’s Constitution as guaranteeing the “right to culture” for all citizens, arguing that this may not be restricted by “ideological criteria”. It is, he argued, “antidemocratic for any organ of the state to prohibit access to culture.”
Silva, for his part, counters that the essence of bullfighting is “suffering and death”, and that this does not become acceptable just because “it is done in an arena with a matador covered in sequins”.
In addition, he said, “it makes no sense and is unacceptable” that public funds go into bullfighting - a spectacle he said is “disguised as a cultural activity” - to the tune of what PAN estimates is between €16 million and €20 million a year, including the indirect subsidy from the live transmission of major bullfights by public television broadcaster RTP. If there are so many bullfighting aficionados, he said, “why is there a need for subsidies to ... repair bullrings, why are there local councils buying tickets to offer their citizens because without that the arenas would not fill up?”
Milheiro dismissed the quantities involved as “ridiculous and insignificant”, saying that the sector does not rely on them to survive.
Silva told Lusa he expects the Communist Party, Greens and People’s Party to vote against the PAN bill, but that the Left Bloc (BE) will support it, while the governing Socialist Party and main opposition Social Democratic Party should give their MPs a free vote on the issue.


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