Bullfighters in Colombia’s capital say they will not go away without a fight, local media reported Friday.
“We are going to defend bullfighting. [Bogota Mayor Gustavo] Petro is not prepared to attend to the dozens of people that are going to be left without work,” said Gitanillo de America, Vice President of the Union of Bullfighters of Colombia following Bogota‘s recent attempt to ban the sport.
De America claimed Petro made the mistake of not conducting an initial study to foresee the possible negative effects the decision would have on residents, saying, “We, the bullfighters, were never called and there are farmers that have sold runs [of bulls] until 2015.”
Some 185 bullfighters are ready to mobilize to defend their right to continue to fight in the Santamaria, Bogota’s main bullfighting venue, which will now become part of the city’s educational system as a cultural and educational hub.
The fighters reportedly support the city’s initiative, but propose to alternate educational programming with bullfighting. For the fighters, the move to close the venue is part of Petro’s ploy to earn votes.
Petro’s office announced Friday that starting at 4PM, a series of artistic and cultural presentations would be featured in the former bullfighting stadium, free of charge.
The decision to close the venue was based on a Colombian Constitutional Court ruling which stated that activities involving “entertainment and cultural expression with animals” may be practiced, “provided [the animals] receive special protection against suffering and pain during the course of those activities,” Colombian weekly Semana reported.
Medellin followed Bogota’s lead June 15 when Mayor Anibal Gaviria said he would cut funding for bullfighting if groups refused to stop killing the animals after events. “Medellin wants to be a leader in the process toward bloodless bullfights,” Gaviria told Caracol Radio.