COLOMBIA NEWS – Bogotá’s animal rights activists have lost two battles recently: A court ruled that Mayor Petro lacked the authority to prohibit bullfighting, and then the City Council voted down a proposal to remove the term ‘bullfighting’ from the Santamaria Plaza’s official list of uses.

end of animalists

Now, the City Council’s ‘Animalista’ benchers feel impotent and frustrated, as well as divided internally. (Several animalista councilmembers actually voted against the proposed plaza name change. They explained that the court ruling obliged them to do so.)

The animalistas seem to be a small interest group. But they are loud and likely the council’s most altruistic members. They chalked up one major victory a year ago when the city finally retired the cart-pulling horses from the streets. Mayor Petro also won their gratitude by not allowing bullfighting for the past two years in the historic Santamaria Plaza. However, this year, while a group of young bullfighters staged a hunger strike in front of the plaza, a court gave the mayor six months to allow bullfighting again.

Petro, who had vowed to resign before allowing bullfighting again, agreed to obey the judge’s order.

Those losses seem to have taken the winds out of the animalistas’ sails and left them fighting amongst themselves – which makes no sense to me. Other groups mobilize themselves in the face of challenges. And, there are many other – and much more important – animal welfare issues to fight for.

What about cockfighting, which is legal and goes on in Bogotá? I’ve been to cockfights, and they’re
horrific, lacking any of even the ‘art’ of bullfighting. A bunch of drunk, yelling guys crowd around a ring in which two roosters slash each other to death with razors their trainers have attached to the birds’ ankles. As the evening winds up, a pile of dead birds accumulates beside the ring.
And how about factory farming? The countless animals which live and die in factory farms and slaughterhouses make the few dozen bulls killed during a bullfighting season almost insignificant. And, in contrast to the crowded, dirty conditions in a factory farm, fighting bulls live well, and for much longer than animals raised for milk or meat, before they’re brought to the bullfighting plaza.

I’ve seen virtually no attention paid to the conditions of life and death for animals raised for milk and meat in Colombia.

And the illegal trade in wild animals? This gets some attention, but not much.

And there are undoubtedly lots more animal welfare issues of much more importance than bullfighting for the animalists to worry about.

Article by Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours