Perpignan: pro and anti bullfighting mano a mano in the street

This Saturday, November 19, 2022, as part of a nationally organized action, defenders and detractors of bullfighting respectively pleaded their cause in the streets of Perpignan. The former claim an immutable local tradition in the South, the latter denounce the paroxysm of animal abuse. At stake for all, the bill for the abolition of bullfighting carried by the anti-speciesist, ex-journalist and deputy La France Insoumise (LFI), Aymeric Caron, submitted to the vote of the National Assembly this Thursday. For now, the games are still not made: the law commission rejected the text last Wednesday.

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  • The pro bullfights did not “think of becoming activists”

This Saturday, November 19 in the morning, the pro bullfighting collective manifested under the windows of the prefecture of Pyrénées-Orientales.
Olivier GOT

At the end of the morning this Saturday, November 19, 2022, a delegation of more than fifty aficionados, associations of the local bullfighting community and people representing the bullfighting towns of the Pyrénées-Orientales went to the prefecture to file at the prefect of the Pyrénées-Orientales, Rodrigue Furcy, a letter entitled “Motion in defense of cultural freedom.” A text relaying in its first lines that with a view to the prohibition of bullfights “MP Aymeric Caron asks the national representation to abolish two fundamental freedoms: the freedom and diversity of cultural expressions and the right to differentiation of local authorities.” Indeed, the wording made in the National Assembly by MP LFI is seen “with worry” according to Jose Angulo, 2e deputy mayor of Céret in charge of bullfighting and member of the extra-municipal bullfighting commission (CTEM). “We are aficionados, amateurs certainly but enlightened. We did not think of becoming militants. We are the guarantors of a way of thinking”he prevails.

However, “from the outside, it is true that there is an aggressive vision in the relationship to the animalhe acknowledges. Except that according to veterinary surveys, suffering can be disputed, just as it can be real. Like that inflicted in slaughterhouses. The 1000 bulls killed in an arena per year is the tip of the iceberg. However, it cannot be denied that the death of an animal in bullfighting can be an abominable spectacle for some and a catharsis for others.”

He defends other aspects. Those oriented towards ecology: “In the Camargue, bullfighting maintains an ecosystem in extensive bullfighting farms and certain protected areas.” The story : “Here, the votive festivals, the strong native breedings, the bullfighting games in Haut-Vallespir are part of the heritage.” The economy: “Linked to breeding, bullfighting schools, the clothing industry, the fallout from ferias.” Culture : “In the south of France, bullfighting towns are culturally identifying and simply cultural beyond bullfighting, through photography in Arles, the museum in Céret, the heritage of Nîmes.” And realizes that the target gear on bullfighting has changed over time: “The first attacks targeted the endangerment of humans, and a hundred years later that of animals. The cultural exception had put an end to this criticism. Today, everything is called into question.”

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  • The anti bullfights want to see “if France is worthy of its reputation as a humanist land”
This Saturday, November 19 in the afternoon, the anti bullfighting expressed their anger in downtown Perpignan.

This Saturday, November 19 in the afternoon, the anti bullfighting expressed their anger in downtown Perpignan.
Charles Baron

“Bullfighting money, blood money.” “Sadism, perversion, bullfighting abolition.” In the early afternoon, on the Place de la Victoire, the atmosphere was quite different on the thorny question of the future of bullfighting in France. More than thirty animal rights activists have joined forces, placards in hand and bull horns on their heads, to “to put an end to the barbarity that bullfighting represents.” For Michèle “Tiamat” Robillard, president of the AnimaLibre association and organizer of the rally, “corrida is a series of tortures inflicted on the bull until it is put to death and for twenty minutes.” She details with horror that“he is given blows with daggers, swords and harpoons in the body and lungs. As for the very first blow of the sword administered to cut the tendons, it is done so that he lowers his head and is thus humiliated . It’s torture in public in front of the bloodthirsty.”

“This culture is crueltyshe continues. It’s not even a tradition.” She supports her statements with the results of opinion polls shared by elected officials defending the abolition of bullfighting and revealing that 8 out of 10 French people are in favor of banning this practice. “Even in the bullfighting towns, they are against the killing of the bull!”she reports from an IFOP poll in June 2022 showing that a majority of inhabitants (61%) did not want it.

She’s still moving forward “that there is an evolution in society on veganism, but not enough on the endless transport of animals, slaughterhouses, cock and dog fights.” This week in the law committee, the deputies highlighted the fact that article 521-1 of the Penal Code prohibits any act of cruelty on animals held by humans. Otherwise, a penalty of 5 years in prison and a fine of 75,000 euros falls. The derogation applies in around fifty towns in the south of France in the name of a “unbroken local tradition.” Also in the days to come, for the ardent defender of the animal cause according to what will be recorded, “we will know if France is worthy of its reputation as a humanist land respectful of life.” If a setback is suffered, “We will continue the fight for the bulls and the horses. And even if I have no empathy for them, we will continue it for the men who come before them because their fate, their death, can make mothers cry, wives, sisters, children.”

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