Bid to ban bullfighting abandoned in France

Bid to ban bullfighting abandoned in France

A bid to ban bullfighting in France was abandoned on Nov. 4 in parliament, spelling relief for lovers of the traditional blood sport and dismay for animal rights’ activists.

The 577-seat national assembly had looked set to vote on draft legislation that would have made the practice illegal.
But after lawmakers filed more than 500 amendments, many of them designed to take up parliamentary time and obstruct the vote, the MP behind the bill withdrew it.

“I’m so sorry,” Aymeric Caron, a left-wing MP, vegan and animal rights’ campaigner, told the national assembly as he announced the decision in raucous and bad-tempered scenes.

Though public opinion is firmly in favor of outlawing the practice, the bill had already been expected to be rejected by a majority of lawmakers who are wary about stirring up the bullfighting heartlands in the south of the country.

“We need to go towards a conciliation, an exchange,” President Emmanuel Macron said on Nov. 23, adding that he did not expect the draft law to pass. “From where I am sitting, this is not a current priority.”

His government has urged members of the ruling centrist coalition not to support the text from the opposition France Unbowed party, even though many members are known to personally favor it.

During a first debate of the parliament’s law commission last week, a majority voted against the proposal by Caron, who denounced the “barbarism” of a tradition that was imported from Spain in the 1850s.

“Caron has antagonized people instead of trying to smooth it over,” a lawmaker from Macron’s party told AFP on condition of anonymity.

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