International Anti-Bullfighting Network makes world premiere in Quito

Tuesday, May 5th 2015

Network © CAS International Summit in Quito, Ecuador, may 2015 © CAS International

The International Anti-bullfighting network, comprising more than 100 animal right organizations from different countries, made its world premiere in Ecuador.

The network is a global peace movement that seeks the eradication of the practice of bullfighting in all countries where it is still legal.

Their rallying cry is to respond to the enormous international and local social demand that urges removing the abuse and death of an innocent animal for entertainment bullfighting represents.

The objectives of the International Anti-bullfighgingNetwork are:

• Inform society about bullfighting by compiling the existing documentation on the activity in the different countries.

• Promote the creation of laws to make animal rights a reality, including for those used in public performances.

• Create a communication platform for all animal protection organizations working for the end of bullfighting.

• Share experiences of anti-bullfighting progress in the countries where this practice is still legal.

• Provide specialized counselling for the different member organizations.

• Spreading the global anti-bullfighting movement dimension to institutions and authorities.

• Eliminate any direct or indirect support of bullfighting with public resources by institutions and encourage the private sector to end the promotion and financing of this activity.

• Protect children from the physical and mental violence associated with bullfighting as it has been recommended the Child Rights Committee of the UN in its review of Portugal and Colombia.

In this sense, the Red rejects any act of violence, including that whose excuse is the abolition of bullfighting.

In parallel with this presentation the Forum “Anti-bullfighting International Experience” has taken place in Ecuador’s National Assembly. Animal protection organizations from Ecuador, Portugal, France, Holland, Spain, Colombia, Venezuela and Mexico have shared achievements of the anti-bullfighting movement in each of the countries where this activity is even legal.

These include:

• The growing rejection of society towards the cruelty of bullfighting, reflected in each and every one of the surveys conducted in these countries.

• The general decline in public assistance to bullfighting events. For example, according to a recent survey by Ipsos Mori in Spain only 7% of Spaniards go at least once a year to a bullfight.

• The National Association of Bullfighting Entrepreneurs” in Spain (ANOET) recently stated: "The world of bullfighting is bankrupt, the Fiesta is over."

• In Spain the number of bullfights has declined in almost 50% since 2007 and cannot be attributed solely to the crisis, because other forms of entertainment such as cinema have increased. Source: Statistics Bullfighting Affairs 2009-13. Spanish Ministry of Culture.

• The abolition of bullfighting in Catalonia, becoming the second region in which this happens in Spain, after the Canary Islands

• Bullfighting has been banned in the states of Guerrero and Sonora in Mexico.

• Suspension of bullfighting in Bogotá, Colombia

• The majority of cantons in Ecuador voted to ban bullfighting.

• Existence of declaredanti-bullfighting municipalities in all the countries where bullfighting takes place, totaling 126.

• Several regions of different countries have limited in different degree the age of access to bullfighting events, including Spain, Venezuela and Ecuador, a country where the minimum age is set at 16 years.

• For the first time in Venezuela a municipality has been declared as anti-bullfighting by its own mayor. This is the case of San Felipe, the epicenter of the main bullfighting stockbreeding in the country.

• In its recent report on Portugal (2014) and Colombia (2015) The Committee on the Rights of the Child of the UN has urged governments to protect children from "the physical and mental violence of bullfighting". Organizations such as Amnesty International have reported that this recommendation is not being respected in the case of Portugal.

• The prestigious British travel association ABTA has called on companies like STA Travel to stop organizing trips to the Pamplona runs and to end promotion of bullfights among tourist.

• An increasing number of animal-prevention institutionshave declared that bullfighting does not contribute to building a less violent society, but quite the opposite. For example, several associations fighting against abuse have positioned themselves against what they call "violence of species." Bogota Mayor Gustavo Petro said that "every show, culture, art about life is welcome, except for those built around the death of animals [...] because it is a bad message for Colombian society where violence against animals and people are on the agenda. [...] The end of bullfighting in Bogotá is an important lesson of peace, because there is no right to kill. “Likewise, the Ombudsman of Venezuela, Tarek William Saab said that the practice of bullfighting "totally attempts against human rights, because it can cause psychological harm to some people"

• European opposition to public subsidies to bullfighting is greater every year. In 2014, 323 MEPs were in favor of the end of European subsidies for bullfighting cattle, compared to 309 who were against.

The presentation of the network has taken place simultaneously with the debate on the Ley Orgánica de Bienestar Animal (LOBA) [Ecuatorianorganic Law on Animal protection (LOBA)] in Ecuador, an initiative introduced by a group of more than 25 animal protection organizations in the country and the Popular Legislative Initiative in Quito, which seeks to ban any kind of bullfights and circuses with animals as well as dog fighting and cockfighting in the Metropolitan District of Quito, in compliance with the decision adopted by the citizens of Quito in the national consultation of May 7, 2011.

In this context the International Network argues that the violence of bullfighting is incompatible with the ethical progress of society, which requires respect for nature and animals, and especially with the concept of "BuenVivir” [Good Living] in balance with nature versus "Living better”from an anthropocentric point of view, a concept with which, according the antibulfighting network, the people of Ecuador have given the world an example as to where to route the relationship between humans and the rest of nature, for a sustainable future of the planet and its inhabitants.

The network wants to encourage public institutions in Ecuador to follow the Ecuadorian Constitution of 2008 in relation to the encouragement of direct and active citizen participation in the country's policies and to encourage initiatives likeLoba and Quito’s Popular Legislative Initiative mentioned above are discussed and treated according to the original text as presented by the citizenship, remaining the claims that citizens wanted to express them intact throughout the legislative process.

During the past weekend took International Anti-bullfighting has also taken place in Quito, during which the member organizations discussed the situation of bullfighting worldwide and developed strategies towards its abolition.

Felipe Oviedo Ogaz President of the People's Promoting Committee for the Popular Legislative Initiative (#IniciativaAntitaurina) in Quito and Network spokesman for Ecuador, expressed his "absolute happiness" by the presence of antibullfighting representatives in his country, and highlighted the fact that there is much international interest in animal protection processes that are born through a popular democratic process in our country urging for a change in the relationship between humans and nature. "We are at a point of no return, if the Board of Quito rejects or modifies our proposal, without the need of collecting a single firm we can still call a new referendum." He finally expressed the solidarity of the organizations promoting the antibullfighting initiative in Quito regarding the approval of the Organic Law on Animal Welfare #LOBA.

Shady Heredia Santos, coordinator of the animal protection group ADLAwas enthusiastic about the worldwideprogress on animal rights, and encourages to consider new models of direct democracy, such as the Popular Legislative Initiative, benefiting not only the animal protection proposals, but any proposal from the citizenship defending the Good Living concept. She also thanked the presence and support of international representatives to local processes such as LOBA and the Anti-bullfighting Initiative.

 "The Network has chosen Ecuador because with its Constitution of 2008 and concepts like Good living has set a precedent to be emulated by the rest of the world with regards tohumans’ relationship with nature" –stated Marta Esteban, president of the platform Torture is Not Culture in Spain and one of the spokesmen of the network. "It is now important that this does not remain merely on paper and that legislative measures are set in place to make this happen, including the eradication of all forms of animal abuse, including bullfighting."

"More and more tourists are drawn to the options offered by Eco Tourism in Ecuador but are somewhat confused by the fact that bullfightsare still legal as well as other forms of animal abuse in the country”- declares Marius Kolff, director of Dutch anti-bullfighting organization CAS International and one of the spokesmen for the network- "In this regard we encourage the government to take the necessary legislative measures to remain a global example in the relationship between humans and nature".

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