In August 2022, a new attempt to ban bullfighting in France was launched with the proposal of a new bill. Aymeric Caron, a popular former TV journalist and animal rights activist recently elected to parliament, has introduced it. For years, none of the draft bills to ban bullfighting have ever been approved for debate by National Assembly lawmakers, and the French courts have also routinely rejected legal actions aimed to end bullfighting regionally or locally (such as the one in July 2021 in Nimes). But there are hopes this time things may be different.
Caron said, “I think the majority of French people share the view that bullfights are immoral, a spectacle that no longer has its place in the 21st century… I do indeed hope this bill will be debated in parliament in November… it would be a first. It’s not a French tradition, it’s a Spanish custom that was imported to France in the 19th century to please the wife of Napoleon III, who was from Andalusia.” Caron has the support of at least 36 lawmakers across the political spectrum, including top members of Macron’s party such as the head of his parliamentary group Aurore Berger.
The bill aims to modify an animal welfare law that allows exceptions for bullfights when it can be shown that they are “uninterrupted local traditions.” Currently, only cities and towns from the South (such as Arles, Beziers, and Nimes) qualify, but in them, many bullfights are performed, some in the French style, but many in the classical Spanish style where the bull is killed in the arena. People are aware that bullfighting is still practiced in several regions of Spain and Portugal, and in several Latin American countries, but they do not know that it is even more popular in the South of France than in the North of Spain.