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After a “corrida” of on-again-off-again legal bouts over whether to allow bullfighting to continue to be practiced in Mexico, the nation’s Supreme Court of Justice (SCJN) on Wednesday, June 15, ruled that, while it condemned the sport as inhumane to animals, it would not ban it.

Both bullfighting and cockfighting, considered traditional sports in Mexico, “inflict unnecessary, cruel and deliberate suffering on animal species,” the court said, adding that it rejected the claim that these sports of a part of the country’s “cultural heritage.”

However, the SCJN stopped short of banning either practice.

By a vote of four to one, the Second Chamber of the court also “invalidated” a decree issued in Nayarit in 2019 declaring bullfighting and cockfights as part of the intangible cultural heritage of that state.

“Any interpretation of this ruling, in the sense that cockfighting or bullfighting are contrary to or prohibited by the Mexican Constitution, would be clearly wrong,” the chamber clarified in the final version of its ruling.

Notwithstanding, the ruling sent a clear message that the SCJN does not sympathize with bullfighting, and therefore will not protect it should one or more Mexican states decide to ban it.

The ruling on bullfighting was the first in the SCJN.

As for cockfighting, the chamber had already resolved in October 2018 that it could not be considered a cultural heritage by endorsing its prohibition in the state of Veracruz.

Just last week, a federal judge indefinitely suspended bullfights in Mexico City’s Plaza México, the largest ring in the world, challenged by a civil association that seeks to protect animals.

In countries such as Spain, France and Colombia, the argument of cultural heritage has been the basis of rulings of the respective constitutional courts to continue allowing bullfighting.

In November 2017, the Second Chamber was about to discuss a project that endorsed the ban on bullfighting in the state of Coahuila, but the company that filed the protection withdrew its appeal and avoided a ruling by the country’s highest court.



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