The third International Anti-Bullfighting Summit saw animal welfare groups from around the world meet in Latin America for the first time, bringing fresh momentum to individual campaigns and resulting in a commitment to work together to end this cruel blood sport.
The Summit, co-sponsored by WSPA and member society CAS International, was held in Venezuela in early June. The location was highly significant: President Hugo Chávez has spoken out against the cruelty of bullfighting and public support is at an all-time low.
The growth of an anti-bullfighting movement in Latin America – where watching a bull harassed, stabbed and speared was once very popular – is just one of many indicators that this ‘traditional’ cruelty has no place in the modern world.
Regional progress provides inspiration
As well as sharing information about the challenges of their local campaigns, organisations from Colombia, Ecuador, France, Mexico, Peru, Portugal, Spain, the Netherlands and Venezuela also discussed the current reality for the international bullfighting industry: dwindling attendances, an increase in the anti-bullfighting movement and cities declaring themselves ‘anti-bullfighting’.
In Spain alone, the ongoing Prou (‘enough’) campaign has seen 16 Catalonian towns declare themselves anti-bullfighting since December 2008, bringing the total to 66. In February 2009, Viana do Castelo became Portugal’s first anti-bullfighting town.
These achievements serve as inspiration to the many local campaigners working hard to ensure Caracas becomes the first major Latin American capital to agree a ban.
Stronger together: a united movement
By signing the ‘Caracas Declaration’ – a document summarizing next steps in the anti-bullfighting movement – the groups attending the summit agreed to continue working together on an international anti-cruelty platform.
By combining their experience and resources, the groups will be able to campaign more effectively and achieve yet more local and regional bullfighting bans. Every town that turns its back on this cruelty saves more animals from prolonged suffering and an inhumane death.
These regional milestones then work to support their lobbying for better (and better enforced) national anti-cruelty legislation.
Everyone can make a difference
At the end of the Summit, the groups lost no time in taking their first unified action, writing a joint letter to President Chávez, requesting his help in eradicating bullfighting from the country.
They also asked Caracas council to support local animal welfare groups in the process of declaring the city officially opposed to the cruelty of bullfighting activities.
You don’t need presidential powers to protect over 200,000 bulls from dying in the ring every year. Read about an upcoming WSPA campaign to end bullfighting in the strategically important region of Catalonia >>