On 28th May 2024, after the Senate had already passed it, the Congress of Colombia passed a law banning bullfighting throughout the country. All that remains is for the text that was approved in the House to be reconciled with the one that had been approved in the Senate, and then get the president’s sanction, but it is expected that both procedures will progress smoothly since it is known that President Gustavo Petro is against bullfighting. Therefore, the ban on bullfighting is expected to come into force in 2027.

This victory for the animal rights activists was achieved after 14 failed attempts, and after the bullfighting fraternity tried to slow down and derail the process using all kinds of tactics. The bill eventually passed with 93 votes in favour and 2 against.

Bill No. 219 of 2023 House (298 of 2023 Senate) states the law “contributes to a cultural transformation through the prohibition throughout the national territory, of the development of bullfighting, rejoneo, novilladas, becerradas and tientas, as well as the procedures used in these shows framed in cultural traditions, that undermine the integrity of non-human life forms.”

As it says in its preamble, the law not only prohibits typical Spanish-style bullfights on foot, but also rejoneo (bullfighting on horseback), novilladas, and becerradas (with young bovids). However, it does not ban coleo, which is a type of Latin American rodeo that does not qualify as bullfighting and does not involve the death of the animals (although it also causes a lot of suffering and animal rights groups have said they are now going to campaign to try to ban it as well). 

The new law gives the government three years to give economic alternatives to people who work in bullfighting, and establishes that bullrings are transformed into stages for cultural and sporting events.

President Gustavo Petro commented on his X, “Congratulations to those who finally managed to make death not a spectacle. Those who are amused by the death of animals will end up amused by the death of human beings; like those who burn books will end up burning human beings.” 

Jordi Casamitjana
“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.