Prótoiro, an organisation created to promote and defend bullfighting in Portugal, immediately launched a petition in the wake of these comments, demanding Minister Graça Fonseca quit her job after announcing her intention to reduce VAT from 13 percent to 6 percent on theatre plays and cultural events, but ruled out a reduced VAT rate for bullfights.
The petition calling for Graça Fonseca’s head currently numbers in excess of five thousand signatures.
In the meantime, the Left Bloc, which forms part of the governing alliance, and in an act of support for the Minister, has said that tickets for bullfights should pay a VAT rate of 23 percent, which is the same as charged on tickets for football matches, dismissing any reductions and saying 13 percent was too little.
A number of animal welfare associations have also rushed forward to defend Portugal’s Culture Minister after calls for her resignation started mounting.
The move had originally been proposed by the PAN Party, which offered its support for the minority Socialist’s 2019 State Budget proposal in exchange for the elimination of VAT relief on bullfights.
But the rightist CDS-PP party has meanwhile accused the Culture Minister of violating the Constitution and said her actions were discriminatory towards millions of Portuguese citizens.
The party also argues the move not to reduce VAT on the sale of bullfight tickets is merely a premise to eliminate bullfighting as a whole.
But it is not only the right that has stood up against the move.
Socialist Party veteran Manuel Alegre, known for his liberal position on a string of divisive issues, has also lambasted the decision.
“Now it is bullfighting, next it will be hunting and then it will be what book we can read or which movie we can watch”, said Alegre following the announcement which is contained in the 2019 state budget.
Alegre added that the position of the Socialist Government and its intolerance creates Bolsonaros in reference to the recently-elected extreme far-right Brazil President.
He concluded: “Attitudes such as these [to not reduce VAT on bullfighting] place our democracy at risk.”
Several other Socialist backbenchers have since taken to social media to express their dissatisfaction at the decision and also dismay at the Culture Minister’s suggestion that those who enjoy bullfighting are uncivilised.
Earlier this year, a bill by PAN to ban bullfighting suffered a heavy loss in Parliament.
Only eight Socialist MPs backed the bill along with a further 12 who abstained, the remainder all voted against the end of bullfighting in Portugal.