Bullfight goes ahead amidst controversy

By PAULO SILVESTRE [email protected]

A fund-raising bullfight being staged in Monchique less than a year after the town’s mayor said there would not be another similar event has caused an outcry among animal rights activists.

Tomorrow’s (Saturday’s) bullfight is the second to be staged in aid of the Bombeiros.

The first was held in September 2010 and now activists claim that the promises made by Monchique Mayor Rui André were broken when he said that the bullfight was an event that “would not be repeated”.

Rui André told the Algarve Resident at the time: “There is no bullfighting tradition in Monchique and the event will be an isolated case. The bullfight is exclusively to support Monchique firefighters. It was them who requested this and we will support it.”

And in a statement about tomorrow’s bullfight, he said: “The Câmara is not supporting this bullfight organised by Monchique Bombeiros. The use of our logo and the name of the Câmara has not been authorised by us and I consider its misuse abusive as we are not publicising the event.

“Personally I have honoured my word, saying it was the first and the last time the Câmara would support this type of events in Monchique.”

A spokesman from Monchique Bombeiros told the Algarve Resident: “We don’t want to make any statements about this subject.”

Last year a spokesman from Monchique Bombeiros argued that the bullfight was to support the Bombeiros, who were facing serious financial difficulties.

“I am a great defender of animals, however bullfights are legal in Portugal and this type of event won’t be the first or the last in the country,” he said at the time. “I hope that many people will attend this bullfight so the funds can help us to overcome our financial difficulties.”

Meanwhile, a group on Facebook called Touradas em Monchique – OUTRA VEZ? (Bullfights in Monchique – Again?) is asking for the support of citizens for the cancellation of the bullfight. The founder of the group, Jeremy Walton, told the Algarve Resident: “Our reasons are the same as last time when we protested against the bullfight in September.

“Bullfights do not deserve the status of culture and our objective is to never allow this cruel and violent practice to happen.” He added: “I would like to call on all people who are interested in making positive change here to join me in protest against this controversial bullfight.”

Another member of the group, who did not want to be named, said: “This year there are more people against this bullfight, with many people in Monchique removing bullfight posters placed in the streets and businesses in the town refusing to sell bullfight tickets.”

Protesters are asking for support in a protest planned for tomorrow at 5.30pm, 30 minutes before the bullfight is due to start.

Meanwhile, Monchique Câmara is holding the 14th Festival do Presunto (Cured Ham Festival) tomorrow (Saturday) and Sunday from 10am at Parque de S. Sebastião. During the event, visitors will learn about the smoked delicacy from Serra de Monchique.

Crafts, local produce and mountain dishes will also be on the menu at the festival. Music entertainment by Portuguese artists will start from 10pm.

For more information about the bullfight protest, please visit Touradas em Monchique – OUTRA VEZ? on Facebook. Alternatively, email [email protected]

For more information about the Festival do Presunto programme, please call Monchique Câmara on 282 910 200.