January 7, 2015
Dozens of people in Southern Colombia attacked and killed a bull who was lying injured on the ground in a arena during the annual "corraleja," an amateur bullfighting festival held each year in several towns in Colombia. During corralejas, spectators are invited into the arena to fight the bull.
Video of the incident, which shows dozens of people kicking, stoning and slashing the helpless bull, has generated outrage in Colombia. In response to the outcry, the country’s Ministry of Culture issued a statement describing the ritual as "barbaric" and calling for the attackers to be punished. He has also called for a public debate about whether the festival should be allowed to continue.
The Mayor of Turbaco, the town in which the incident was filmed, defended the attack: "In 'corraleja' festivals, there are always injuries, there are always animals beaten and horses killed. These are the kinds of incidents that form part of the traditions and customs of such festivals."
As more and more people become exposed to the barbarity of bullfights, governments are being pressured to curb the tradition. In Bogota, Colombia’s capital, the Mayor banned bullfighting in 2012, declaring that the city’s arena is for "activities of life, not death." Bullfight supporters are fighting back in the courts and in the streets.
Barcelona banned bullfighting in 2012. Over the border in France, however, the bloodsport is still legal. In 2014, dozens of animal rights activists stormed a bullfight arena in Southwest France and were dragged away one by one by police officers. In an unexpected development, bullfight fans violently attacked the protesters.