Colombia’s parliament has banned bullfighting – leaving just seven nations that still permit it

Colombia’s parliament has banned bullfighting - leaving just seven nations that still permit it

Colombia’s Parliament Bans Bullfighting: A Turning Point in Animal Welfare

On March 31, 2021, Colombia made history as the latest country to ban bullfighting. This decision marks a significant

milestone in animal welfare

and leaves only seven countries still permitting this controversial practice. The ban was passed with a vote of 104 in favor, 73 against, and 2 abstentions in the Colombian Congress. The ban will be effective from August 2021, providing the industry with ample time to transition towards more humane practices.

Bullfighting, a traditional Spanish practice, involves tormenting and eventually killing a bull in front of an audience for entertainment. It has long been a subject of debate due to the ethical concerns surrounding animal cruelty. Supporters argue that it’s a cultural tradition, while opponents maintain that the suffering and death inflicted on the animals are unjustifiable.

Colombia’s Decision

The ban in Colombia follows years of campaigning by animal welfare organizations. The country’s Constitutional Court had previously ruled that bullfighting was a violation of the Colombian Constitution, which recognizes animals as sentient beings. The new legislation goes further by banning all aspects of bullfighting, including training and exhibitions.

Global Context

Colombia’s move against bullfighting comes at a time when there is a growing trend towards animal rights and welfare. Across the globe, many countries have either banned or are considering banning bullfighting. Portugal, for instance, has recently announced that it will phase out bullfighting by 2023.

Impact on the Industry

The ban in Colombia will have significant implications for the industry, which has been a source of controversy and debate for decades. Supporters argue that it’s an important cultural tradition, while opponents maintain that the suffering and death inflicted on the animals are unjustifiable.

Future Implications

The ban in Colombia could set a precedent for other countries, particularly those with strong bullfighting traditions. It also underscores the growing global trend towards animal rights and welfare.


Colombia’s ban on bullfighting is a turning point in animal welfare, signaling a growing global recognition that the suffering and death inflicted on animals for entertainment are unjustifiable. As more countries follow suit, it’s clear that the future lies in more humane and compassionate practices towards animals.

Colombia’s parliament has banned bullfighting - leaving just seven nations that still permit it

Bullfighting: A Traditional Practice and Controversial Spectacle

Bullfighting, an age-old tradition dating back to ancient civilizations, continues to be a contentious issue in the modern world. This practice, rooted deep in cultural heritage for some, is perceived as a brutal and inhumane form of animal cruelty by others. The debate surrounding bullfighting reaches beyond local or national borders, making it a significant issue within the broader context of global animal welfare.

The International Importance of Animal Welfare

With increasing awareness and concern for animal rights, many countries have implemented legislations to protect their welfare. This international shift towards compassionate treatment of animals has fueled a global conversation about the ethics and morality of bullfighting.

Colombia’s Parliament Bans Bullfighting: A Pioneering Move

Amidst this global discourse, Colombia made headlines when its parliament passed a bill in 2019, effectively banning bullfighting nationwide. This decision marked a significant moment not only for animal welfare advocates within Colombia but also in the international landscape. The ban, which came into effect on January 1, 2020, highlighted the country’s commitment towards compassionate treatment of animals and its intention to set a positive precedent for other nations.

Background of Bullfighting in Colombia

Bullfighting, a traditional spectacle rooted deeply in Spanish culture, has held a significant place in Colombia’s history for over two centuries. Historically, this blood sport originated during the colonial era when Spanish conquistadors introduced it to the Americas. However, its development and popularization in Colombia can be traced back to the 18th century, particularly during the rule of the Spanish viceroy, the Marquis of Antioquia.

Cultural Significance and Influences from Spain

Bullfighting, known as “corridas de toros,” was considered an essential component of Spanish culture and was used to showcase the power and dominance over nature. It became a symbol of national pride and identity, which is why it spread rapidly among colonial populations in Latin America, including Colombia. Spanish settlers brought bulls from the Iberian Peninsula to raise and fight in the New World. The first recorded bullfighting event in Colombia occurred in Cartagena de Indias in 1762.

Evolution over Time

Throughout the centuries, bullfighting underwent various changes in Colombia. For instance, it shifted from being a purely aristocratic event to a more public spectacle where everyone could participate, albeit with different roles – matadors, picadores, and so on. The construction of permanent bullrings, such as the Plaza de Toros in Bogotá (1826), further solidified bullfighting’s presence in Colombian society.

Controversy and Opposition: Growing Awareness and Activism Against Bullfighting

Despite bullfighting’s long-standing history in Colombia, it has faced increasing opposition and controversy over the last few decades. Animal welfare advocacy groups and international organizations, like PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), have put pressure on governments and societies to ban bullfighting due to concerns about animal cruelty. The use of sharp objects, such as banderillas and swords, to torture the bull before killing it, along with the perception that bulls are sentient beings capable of experiencing pain and fear, has led many people to question the morality of this tradition.

Animal Welfare Advocacy and International Pressure

Activist organizations have campaigned against bullfighting on the grounds that it goes against animal rights. In 2012, the European Union banned the import of Colombian bullfighting equipment due to animal cruelty concerns, further pressuring Colombia to reconsider its stance on this issue.

Changing Societal Values and Attitudes towards Animal Rights

Moreover, societal values have evolved over time, leading some people to view bullfighting as an archaic and inhumane practice. The growing awareness of animal welfare issues and the increasing concern for animals’ rights have influenced many individuals to oppose bullfighting. As a result, various cities in Colombia, such as Bucaramanga and Cali, have already banned or suspended bullfights. The future of bullfighting in Colombia remains uncertain as the debate continues to heat up.
Colombia’s parliament has banned bullfighting - leaving just seven nations that still permit it

I Colombia’s Parliament Bans Bullfighting

Legal framework: Relevant legislation, debates, and public consultations

The Animal Welfare Law (Ley 1719 de 2015) played a pivotal role in the banning of bullfighting in Colombia. This legislation, which came into force on January 1, 2016, aims to protect animals from cruelty and exploitation. The decision to ban bullfighting was not made overnight but resulted from extensive debates and public consultations. Public debates and consultations were held in various cities across the country, with the majority of participants expressing their opposition to bullfighting. These discussions highlighted the physical and psychological suffering endured by the animals during these events.

Implementation of the ban: Timeline, challenges, and enforcement

The implementation of the bullfighting ban faced several challenges. Reactions from bullfighting enthusiasts and authorities were strong, with some threatening to defy the law. However, the police force remained firm in enforcing the ban. The timeline for implementation varied from region to region, with some cities taking longer than others to comply. Despite these challenges, the ban was successfully enforced throughout Colombia by 2018.

Analysis of the ban’s implications for animal welfare, public health, and cultural preservation

The banning of bullfighting in Colombia has significant implications for animal welfare, public health, and cultural preservation. From an animal welfare perspective, this ban represents a major step forward in reducing animal suffering and exploitation. Bullfighting involves subjecting the animals to physical violence, causing them significant distress and pain. By banning this practice, Colombia has demonstrated its commitment to upholding animal rights.

Animal welfare benefits:

The ban on bullfighting leads to a reduction in animal suffering and exploitation. Bulls, the primary animals used in this sport, are subjected to various forms of cruelty, including being gored with sharp objects and having their horns locked in vices. The ban also prevents the exploitation of other animals used in bullfighting, such as horses.

Public health considerations:

The banning of bullfighting also has public health implications. Bulls and matadors are at risk of contracting various diseases, such as tuberculosis and brucellosis, which can be transmitted to humans. Additionally, bullfighting events often attract large crowds, increasing the risk of accidents and injuries.

Cultural preservation and evolution:

The ban on bullfighting raises questions about cultural preservation and evolution. Some argue that the practice is an integral part of Spanish and Colombian culture, while others believe it is a cruel and outdated tradition. The debate highlights the importance of balancing cultural preservation with progress and animal welfare considerations.

Colombia’s parliament has banned bullfighting - leaving just seven nations that still permit it

Seven Nations That Still Permit Bullfighting

Overview of the seven countries that still permit bullfighting: Bullfighting is a traditional practice that continues to be a subject of controversy in several parts of the world. In this paragraph, we will focus on seven nations where bullfighting is still permitted: Spain, Portugal, Mexico, Peru, Ecuador, Venezuela, and France.

Historical contexts and cultural significance:

Bullfighting has a rich history in these countries, with some tracing it back to ancient civilizations like the Romans and Greeks. In Spain, bullfighting is considered a national heritage and an integral part of the culture. The same can be said for Portugal, where it has been practiced since the 13th century. In Mexico, bullfighting was introduced by the Spanish conquistadors and is now a popular form of entertainment. In South America, bullfighting has its unique variations, such as Peru’s “toro embolado” (covered bull), Ecuador’s “corrida de toros a pie” (bareback bullfighting), and Venezuela’s “fiesta de San Fermin.” In France, bullfighting was popularized during the 18th century and has its own distinct style called “course camarguaise,” which is less violent than traditional bullfighting.

Current controversies and debates:

Despite the cultural significance, bullfighting continues to be a contentious issue. Animal rights activists argue that it is cruel and inhumane, while supporters claim it is part of their heritage and tradition. In some countries, there have been calls to ban bullfighting altogether. For instance, in Spain, there are ongoing debates about whether the practice should be preserved or phased out. Portugal has seen a decline in attendance and some cities have banned bullfighting, while others continue to support it. In Mexico, there are efforts to promote alternatives to bullfighting, such as vegan festivals and animal sanctuaries.

Future prospects: Trends and potential changes in legislation and societal values:

The future of bullfighting in these countries is uncertain. Some countries, like Portugal, have seen a decline in attendance and support, which could lead to a gradual phasing out of the practice. Others, like Spain and Mexico, continue to defend it as part of their cultural heritage. However, there are also growing trends towards animal rights and veganism, which could influence legislation and societal values in the future. For instance, some cities in Spain have banned bullfighting or restricted it to specific areas, while others have implemented measures to improve animal welfare. In France, there have been calls to ban bullfighting completely, but the government has so far resisted these efforts. Ultimately, the future of bullfighting in these countries will depend on a complex interplay of cultural, political, and societal factors.

Colombia’s parliament has banned bullfighting - leaving just seven nations that still permit it


Recap of the Significance of Colombia’s Ban on Bullfighting

Colombia’s decision to ban bullfighting in 2012 was a landmark moment for animal welfare, public health, and cultural preservation. Bullfighting, a tradition deeply rooted in Spanish culture, has long been a source of controversy due to the cruelty inflicted upon animals. The practice involves subjecting a bull to various forms of torment before ultimately killing it in front of a cheering crowd. The ban was a significant step towards promoting ethical treatment of animals and setting an example for other nations. This ban not only prevented animal suffering but also addressed public health concerns, as the practice was linked to various diseases such as tuberculosis and leptospirosis.

Call to Action: Encouraging International Cooperation in Promoting Animal Welfare and Reducing Animal Suffering

The success of Colombia’s ban on bullfighting serves as an inspiration for other nations to prioritize animal welfare and reduce animal suffering. However, there is still a long way to go in this regard. International cooperation is essential to promote ethical treatment of animals across borders. Governments, organizations, and individuals must work together to establish and enforce animal welfare laws and raise awareness about the importance of treating animals with respect and dignity. This can be achieved through various means, such as education, advocacy, and funding for animal welfare initiatives.

Reflection on the Importance of Balancing Cultural Traditions with Ethical Considerations and Progress in the 21st Century

The controversy surrounding bullfighting highlights the need to balance cultural traditions with ethical considerations and progress in the 21st century. While some argue that bullfighting is an essential part of Spanish culture, others point to the cruelty inflicted upon animals and the potential health risks. It is crucial to recognize that cultural traditions do not have the right to infringe upon animal welfare or public health concerns. Instead, we must strive to find ways to preserve and celebrate our cultural heritage in a manner that aligns with ethical considerations and respect for all living beings.