Did you know that there are bullfights in France? I am a passion Like in Spain?
In the Camargue, in St Remy de Provence, in Aquitaine, in Bayonne, in the Basque Country, thousands of spectators ascend the stands of the arena or those of the Roman amphitheater in Arles to watch a traditional bullfight or Camargue stylewhen two teams fight to tear the balls of wool between the horns of a bull, which does not die.
Today at anti-bullfighting bill divides the French and will be discussed this Thursday in the National Assembly, under the threat of put an end to this bloody showpracticed in France since the 18th century.
Pope Pius V already argued that it must be prohibited in all of Christendom because the man risked his life for a worthy cause.
Today the reasons are not only humanitarian but also the fight against animal cruelty, even if it is a death blow for the matadors, bull breeders, horses and matadors and all the logistics surrounding bullfighting in the south of France. .
An ecological project
The National Assembly analyzes the proposal of the green deputy Aymeric Caron, who he wants to ban it throughout the territory.
If the text is rejected in the commission, a flag is planted in the language of bullfighting. But not the final blow. the ride is known threatened by modernity and new customs.
“It is an anti-modern show par excellence but also universal and eternal,” said Olivier Mageste, manager of bullfighter Florian Canton.
The the bullfighters get angry before the environmentalists. ”Today animal suffering is associated with human suffering. When a bull dies in the ring, they see a human die. environmentalists they want to put man on the same scale as the animal”, assures the bullfighter Raphaël Raucoule, “El Rafi” for the fans.
The bullfighter and the bull
The battle between conservationists and bullfighters for bulls is not only conceptual. The bullfighter respects the bull more than anyone else, he dreams of it. The animal transcends it and excites it. is a battle between him and his bull.
For Benjamin Cuillé, breeder of fighting bulls in the Gard, we must not forget the essential: “they are animals”.
“If a bull and Deputy Aymeric Caron sink in a river, I will save Caron,” he said.
Animals have their own fighting DNA. They were born to fight. Hundreds of people are gored to death on the field in anticipation of the bullfight: “They have a ferocity unmatched to each other”, describes a bullfighter, compared to the “brave bull”.
Anti-bullfights do not defend the bullfighter. For them “he is a murderer who kills for pleasure”. It is not for them the same feeling of the bullfighter, “when I stake my life in front of the bull”, according to Rafi. For them it is “the most beautiful death that a bullfighter can offer a bull”.
These uses and customs were closely linked in the south of France. Today society is changing: 80% are in favor of abolishing bullfighting, according to Sunday Journal du Dimanche.
Bullfighters believe that this life project is an attack on their culture, their identity, their way of life. “We live by and for this. We don’t know how to live otherwise”, admits Benjamín Cuille, producer of fighting bulls.
“People don’t understand that I love bull”, says matador Tibo Garcia. The process goes beyond running. It begins with the birth of the bull, his education, life around the bullfight, the party, the horses. Not everything is the death of the animal but the end of a process.
It is when the French choose spanish to talk about the fight: the cloak, the vuelyta, the alternative, the fan, the bullfighter. A bullfighting waltz with the Spanish words “alla festa” incorporated.
This Thursday in the National Assembly a liturgy was judged, a ritual tradition
A traditional bullfight
The afternoon’s first showdown between man and beast in the southern French town of Vauvert reached its bloody climax in front of 1,500 cheering spectators.
The matador tossed the bull’s ear into the crowd, where an elegant blonde woman grabbed it and smiled proudly. Karine Dupeyron, who works in the fashion industry and was sitting with her family, including her young grandchildren, placed the large black furry object on the concrete step next to her.
“You have to dry it with coarse salt”, She said. “It’s a trophy, like a cup you can win.” She has been a frequent fan of bullfighting for decades. “It’s a ballet involving the bullfighter and the bull,” she said. “If it’s done well and the sword is well inserted, the animal doesn’t have time to suffer because everything happens very quickly.”
The cropping of the bull’s ears – and the tail too, considering the fight was particularly impressive – is among a series of choreographed rituals accompanying bullfighting, which arrived in the south of France in the mid-18th century from Spain and has been around for a long time.
But contests like this, which attract millions of viewers 200 bullfights a year in places like Nîmes, Arles and Béziers, could soon go down in history if Aymeric Caron, a radio and television journalist turned far-left MP, gets what he wants.
The French parliament must take into consideration the bill proposed by Caron which would give the coup de grace to bullfighting. It is permitted only in three southern regions: Nouvelle-Aquitaine, Occitanie and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, where it is considered an “uninterrupted local tradition”.
the bill I would also ban cockfights, which are permitted in parts of the north and overseas territories of the country, with the same exemption to animal cruelty laws.
“I think most French people share the opinion that bullfighting they are immoral, a show that has no place in the 21st century,” said Caron, 50, this year.
There were protests against the proposed ban in a dozen towns in southern France and a smaller demonstration against bullfighting in Paris.
Sara first time there is a parliamentary vote on the matter. Unlike Spain, where bullfighting has been a deeply political issue ever since it was championed by General Franco as part of the national cultural identity, it has continued in the south of France, barely noticed by people in the rest of the country, except some animal rights advocates.
The outcome is difficult to predict: after a heated debate last week during which Caron denounced the “barbarism” of bullfighting, the parliament’s legislative committee rejected his proposal. But the House as a whole can support it, with MPs from President Macron’s party and many of his rivals voting freely.
The theme has become a topic of conversation thanks to a high-profile campaign led by Caron, who argues that animals essentially have the same rights as human beings.
The passions aroused recall those that accompanied the campaign a abolish fox hunting in Britain almost two decades ago.
A poster produced by the French Society for the Protection of Animals shows a bullfighter about to impale a dog with the caption: “If it were a dog, would you accept being killed ‘in the name of tradition’?”
Passers-by in Nîmes, for their part, were shocked last week to see actress Marie Cornillon posing nearly naked and wearing bull make-up in front of the city’s Roman amphitheater, carrying a banner reading “Ban Bullfighting”.
The 2,000-year-old bullring hosts the annual Pentecost Fair which draws two million people to five days of bull-based events.
While a poll earlier this year showed 77% of French people would be in favor of a ban, almost the exact opposite is true in the south, where boys, and occasionally girls, they dream of becoming matadors instead of soccer players, and bullfighting is a multimillion-dollar business important to tourism and agriculture.
The animals intended for the ring sThey are carefully raised and roam free.: each has an average of 3 hectares for it.
They live up to five or six years, unlike cattle and dairy cattle, which have much smaller spaces and are slaughtered much younger. The best can be sold for thousands of euros to bullfighting promoters. Such a form of agriculture would be unfeasible if bullfighting were banned.
Mark Jones is a world traveler and journalist for News Rebeat. With a curious mind and a love of adventure, Mark brings a unique perspective to the latest global events and provides in-depth and thought-provoking coverage of the world at large.