Bill to ban bullfighting gets parliamentary thumbs down
PAN, the party named after People, Animals and Nature, is in a defiant mood following parliamentary defeat in its efforts to ban bullfighting.
The party’s bill was rejected by MPs on Friday though it had the support of government allies Bloco de Esquerda, the PEV (Greens), eight Socialist MPs and one social democrat.
In Madeira over the weekend he said his party will continue its campaign to abolish the bloodsport – arguing that its rejection on the basis that it is a part of Portuguese ‘culture’ doesn’t wash.
Portugal has a legacy of “the inquisition, the death penalty, slavery, colonisation and whale hunting” – yet it has not taken any of those practices into the 21st century, he said, while society and MPs have all agreed “and it is enshrined in law, that all forms of violence against animals should be condemned and rejected”.
Thus, next parliamentary session (opening in September) PAN will be back with new attempts to outlaw a sport that has even seen bans imposed in neighbouring Spain – a country traditionally far more closely-identified with bullfighting.
Meantime, André Silva will be targeting the sector’s IVA (VAT)-exemption saying: “It’s absolutely indecent that bullfighters and matadors do not pay IVA for an activity based on the mistreatment and brutalisation of animals”.
Explain reports, this will be the fourth year running that PAN has tried to tackle the IVA issue , but every year society is waking up a little further to the ugliness of the sport. Regular anti-bullfighting protests, particularly in the Algarve, have explained the brutality ongoing in town bullrings to hundreds of tourists, and made hotels ‘touting tickets’ for the shows just a little bit more uncomfortable.
But the truth, as the majority of MPs saw it on Friday, is that agreeing to an outright ban – even if they themselves personally dislike the idea of watching an animal slowly butchered – would put “Portuguese against Portuguese”.
Says Observador in its opening paragraph on Friday’s debate, the majority “argued against the imposition of one will over a significant part of Portuguese society”.
There were those who labelled PAN “radical”, and others that claimed the party has an “incomplete vision of the world”. PCP Communists suggested that any ban would see populations rising up against a law “that would not be respecting cultural diversity and the universality of rights”.
The tireless André Silva had an answer for all of them: no party that calls itself progressive and yet defends the continuation of bullfights could say it has “caught the train of progress”.
Pro-bullfighting MPs value “fallacious economic interests over ethics”, he said – an affirmation that is actually being used in the law courts right now to try and challenge the government’s insistence on sanctioning gas and oil exploration in the face of overwhelming popular protest.