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Culture in crisis

Posted 15/05/2011 by League Campaigner

The recent decision by French authorities to recognise bullfighting as an “intangible cultural heritage” has enraged animal welfare activists across Europe. And we’re quite right to be angry.

In centuries past people would crowd the streets to watch a public hanging, or fill the Colosseum to watch gladiators fight to the death. In the twenty-first century we look back on these times with a mixture of awe and disgust. How did people not realise that these spectacles were barbaric? How could people gain enjoyment from watching such appalling suffering?

Of course, it takes time for a society to amend its behaviours and now we quite rightly regard the atrocities committed in the Colosseum as barbaric. Recent bullfighting bans in Catalonia and Ecuador are testament to the fact that bullfighting is also now on its way to joining its bedfellows in the dustbin of history.

However, this unexpected decision could prove to be a dangerous setback. There is now a real concern that the pro-bullfighting lobby could succeed in registering bullfighting as a world cultural heritage with UNESCO. This would serve to give the “sport” the legitimacy it so craves, and would also open the floodgates to even more subsidies from the European Union, which already props up the bullfighting industry to the tune of £37 million each year.

The League is working with organisations across Europe to campaign against this decision, the focal point being a demonstration in Paris on Saturday 28th May, at the Place du Palais Royal near the Ministry of Culture. Organisers are hoping for a really strong turnout to show the strength of public feeling on this issue.
 
If you would like any more information about this campaign, please email

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