With 94 votes in favour and 46 against, on 26th April 2022 the House of Representatives of Colombia passed a bill to ban any type of bullfighting in the country. The bill will now go to the Senate of the Republic, where the last two debates will take place.
However, national elections have been called before the bill reaches the Senate (the animal protection organisation Plataforma Alco has a webpage showing which candidates are pro-animal). The first round is set for 29th May and the second for 20th July. If the bill fails to pass the last two debates before 20th June, when the ordinary sessions of Congress end, it would not go ahead. The good news is that Gustavo Petro leads the polls of voting intention, and he is a candidate known for his opposition to bullfighting, so if this bill runs out of time perhaps another one may follow. The other obstacle to overcome is the Colombian Constitutional Court, which in the past has managed to stop any previous initiative to ban bullfighting in the country.
The bill aims to ban traditional bullfights in areas where there is still some tradition, such as the Fairs of Cali, Manizales or in another hundred municipalities that celebrate bullfighting shows on the occasion of their patron saint festivities, and also the so-called corralejas and becerradas, that are less formalised and happen on the streets rather than in bullrings.
The bill was proposed by Representative Juan Carlos Losada, who said before the House that “the defence of animals is not inferior to the protection of cultural expressions.” The bill establishes that the National Government will have a period of six months to ban these practices, counted from the issuance of the norm to guarantee effective programs of economic reconversion of people who are dedicated to activities related to bullfighting. As many other countries and regions have been doing over the years, Colombia’s neighbour, Venezuela, is also on the path to abolishing bullfighting, so it remains to be seen which of these two traditionally rival countries would get there first.