The French government has just officially categorised bullfighting as an "Intangible Cultural Heritage." With thissurprising and unexpected official recognition France is the first country in the world to make a step in favour ofa spectacle based on cruelty, torture and the death of an animal.
The international bullfighting lobby is working to ensure that in countries where there are still bullfights, France, Spain, Portugal, Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Venezuela and Ecuador, their governments officially recognize this practice as "Intangible Cultural Heritage " In Spain, at regional level, the communities of Madrid and Murcia already have done this.
The bullfighting lobby by means of its "UNESCO Bullfighting Project" is focusing its efforts on a new attempt to place the bullfights under UNESCO protection, using the agreements and the contents of the "Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage." This allows this International Institution to give privileged status to places and cultures in the world, enabling them to benefit from some protection. The advantages of a recognition by UNESCO, in addition to the formal inclusion in the lists, would mean that governments should adopt appropriate legal, technical, administrative and financial support to promote strengthening and continuity of bullfighting, and promote educational programs, awareness raising and spreading the word specifically targeted to young people in relation to promoting this cruel activity.
The official recognition of several countries of bullfighting as a Cultural Heritage, such as France has now done, is focused to try to influence a future decision of UNESCO, which would create a real shield against the global popular movement which demands its abolition. It would also delay, indefinitely, the ending of these cruel spectacles which are based on the deliberate and regulated determination to inflict physical and psychical suffering which results in extended agony and finally the death of a living being.
If the bullfights were listed by UNESCO as a World Intangible Cultural Heritage, this precedent would impact negatively on other initiatives on behalf of all animals. Other countries might as a result apply to UNESCO for the same protection for other cruel practices, such as sealing , whaling, cockfighting, cruel festivals with animals, etc.
The bullfights are one of several unjustifiable and incomprehensible practices that still exist in modern times. The animals are humiliated and tormented by a specially trained professional who is armed with instruments designed to cause intense pain and death. The horses involved in the events also experience fear and suffer injures. This spectacle has been declining for years and is heavily criticized and becoming more and more unpopular around the world.
We are urgently calling for all animal protection organizations and concerned people to take action and protest againstthis initiative. In this way we aim to avoid the recognition by UNESCO of this degrading and cruel practice. These eventsgenerate negative emotions and do not represent any social or cultural value that deserve to be recognized or protected as an Intangible Heritage by a so prestigious international organization like UNESCO, whose decisions are of great moraland ethical significance.
We attach a sample letter, that you can adapt, to be sent to the most important and influential personalities. It is preferable to send the letter by post. Due to email saturation this method no longer gives the best results. On our website, “SOS against bullfighting”, we will post some useful names and addresses. This moment is of great significance and the union of all animal defenders is essential.
Ong. ADDA, April 2011.