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Bullfighting is illegal in most countries as it is rightly viewed as a glorification of unnecessary and cruel violence against a sentient being. However, while some countries, like Spain, are seeing a decline in its popularity, others, like France, are seeing a renaissance of sorts. Sadly, many young children are being brought to these events and are becoming inured to this senseless brutality.
Some parents believe this is a great way to bond with their children and share a cultural heritage passed on to them by their parents. Jean-Laurent Vilon and his wife Charlotte, are a couple of those parents. They recently brought their 12-year-old son, Jeansin Vilon, and 15-year-old daughter, Paloma, to a bullfight in Bayonne, France. Jeansin attended his first bullfight when he was nine.
“My husband attended his first bullfight with his own father, and he feels it’s very important to hand down the family tradition,” Charlotte told the Daily Mail.
Another parent at the event brought his 2-year-old daughter, 6-year-old son, and 8-year-old son. At this event, admission is free for children under eight.
Spain has seen a 40% decline in bullfighting events in the last ten years and more than 80% of Spaniards between the ages of 18 and 24 oppose them. A recent petition to ban them entirely accrued over 200,000 signatures and Barcelona has only one bullfighting ring left. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of spectators have attended bullfighting events in southwest France this summer despite protests.
The president of the Cote Basque Bullfighting Association, Georges Lecloux, believes these protests are having the opposite of their intended effect.
“We are actually seeing a resurgence of interest, I think because our young people have the impression that their freedom is being destroyed and they don’t like that,” said Lecloux, according to the Daily Mail.
“Today we are leading the fight to preserve bullfighting even more strongly than Spain. In fact, they are following our lead and making alliances with us.”
Lecloux, like many others, views bullfights as an art form “that must be preserved.”
But it’s hard to see how stabbing a bull with barbed darts called “banderillas”, repeatedly spearing him in the neck and back, disorienting him, mocking him in front of thousands, and finally, driving a spear deep through his upper back to kill him, could be seen as anything that remotely resembles art.
Bullfights are an antiquated tradition and have no place in a civilized society. Bringing children to these events is tantamount to child abuse and breeds a complete disregard for these majestic animals’ suffering. Tradition is no excuse to continue inflicting violence and there are many other ways to bond with our children.
Please sign this petition to help end bullfighting in France!
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