Nimes (France) (AFP)
A French court on Monday dismissed a bullfighting case brought by animal rights activists, saying local traditions outweighed concerns about animal cruelty.
The Society for the Protection of Animals (SPA) had filed a complaint against the corrida organizer Léa Vicens and the city of Nîmes in the south-west, a high place of bullfighting, claiming that the practice was “shocking and barbaric” .
But the Nîmes court, following several previous rejection by the courts of complaints filed by the SPA, rejected her case and ordered her to pay 4,000 euros ($ 4,700) in legal costs.
Bullfighting is a sand arena performance involving a bull and a person – known as a bullfighter or torera – who tries to injure, immobilize or kill the animal which is subjected to attacks with spears, barbed darts and swords during the contest.
France has strict laws against cruelty to animals, but bullfighting – which kills around 1,000 bulls a year in the country – is exempt in places where it has long been practiced.
Trying to win public opinion for a change in the law, the SPA has carried several cases in cities where bullfighting is popular, including Dax, Carcassonne, Bayonne and Béziers, so far without success.
In its verdict in May, a court in Béziers recognized that wounds deliberately inflicted on bulls caused them “great suffering”, and should be characterized as “cruelty”.
But he said animal cruelty laws do not apply to bullfighting “as long as there is evidence of an unbroken local tradition” under the French penal code.
© 2021 AFP