Children and bullfighting
Children being brought to a bullfight in Mimizan, France © CAS International
Children in bullfights
In most bullfighting countries, children are allowed to be present at bullfights. Children of all ages are allowed in bullfights in Colombia, France, Mexico and Peru. In Spain and Venezuela minors are also permitted to attend bullfights except in some regions: the Spanish states of Galicia and the Balearic Islands have an age limit of 12 years old and the Venezuelan states of Aragua, Zulia Guárico of 18 years old. In Portugal and Ecuador children are allowed to be present at a bullfight from respectively 6 and 16 years old.
The age limit for attending patronal festivals with bulls differs per municipality. In general, children of all ages can attend these events.
Bullfighting Schools exist in all bullfighting countries. In bullfighting schools children learn the different aspects of bullfighting, including how to fight a bull according to certain rules. The practical exercises usually feature fake bulls, but sometimes use real bulls, depending on the rules of the country. For instance in Spain it is forbidden for minors under 16 years to kill bulls, but there is no age limit in Mexico.
According to several scientists, witnessing a bullfight can lead to negative psychological effects on children. It can result in a trauma, and the weakening of the moral judgement and empathy. Another consequence is that children become accustomed to violence and can react apathetic when confronted with a violent incident.
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