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January 31, 2017

Humane Society International urges Colombian Constitutional Court to revise decision to overturn ban on bullfighting

Bogota residents oppose cruel practice, demand ban on blood sport

Humane Society International

  • Christian Martínez Kempin/istock

Following the first bullfight held in Bogota in four years, Humane Society International is calling on the Colombian Constitutional Court to revise their decision to overturn a ban on bullfighting established in the city in 2012.

The Court had originally annulled the ban in 2013 after adopting the highly controversial interpretation that bullfighting represented an expression of “cultural heritage” and therefore could not be banned. In the days that followed the recent bullfight, local animal advocates have taken to the streets to protest the activity, and a new lawsuit has been presented, demanding that bullfighting be listed as animal cruelty according to the terms of Law 1774, implemented in 2016.    

Alexandra Rothlisberger, deputy director for companion animals and engagement at Humane Society International, said: “Years ago, in a show of great compassion, the citizens of Bogota and their elected officials decided to ban the cruelty of bullfighting from their city, only to have their will ignored for the sake of cruel entertainment masquerading as ‘cultural heritage’. It is time for the Constitutional Court to right that wrong and ban this inhumane practice for good.”  

Tell politicians: Bull fiestas and bullfights are not tourism.


  • In 2012, then Mayor of Bogota Gustavo Petro banned bullfighting in the city. As animal advocates presented their case against bullfighting to Petro, an initiative was born to transform Bogota’s bullfighting arena into a platform for cultural and educational events that exclude torture, cruelty and death. This initiative was implemented once the ban was announced.
  • The Constitutional Court subsequently overturned the ban, following a lawsuit brought by Bogota’s Bullfighting Corporation to repeal the ban and bring back the blood sport to the city.
  • Bullfighting is banned by law in many countries, including Argentina, Canada, Cuba, Denmark, Italy and the United Kingdom, as well as in many cities and states across Venezuela, and in three Mexican states: Sonora, Guerrero and Coahuila.

Media contact: Raúl Arce-Contreras, rcontreras@humanesociety.org, (US) +1 301 721 6440

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