CAS International (Comité Anti Stierenvechten) is the biggest organization in the world which works exclusively on the abolition of bullfighting and cruel fiestas (festivals) during which bulls and other animals are tortured. Together with our colleague organizations, we want to end this animal abuse as soon as possible.
More information about CAS International.
Bullfighting is one of the most cruel forms of animal abuse. Every year, more than 250,000 bulls and cows are tortured and killed worldwide during bullfights and similar events.
Also during fiestas ('village festivals'), tens of thousands of bulls and other animals are severely maltreated.
More information about bullfighting and fiestas.
Bullfighting in Mexico
From the five Latin American countries that have a bullfighting industry, Mexico is the most bullfighting country (possibly the world’s most bullfighting country).
Like in the other Latin American countries, bullfighting arrived to Mexico with the first Spaniards. Letters of Hernán Cortés - who 'defeated' the Aztecs - to the King of Spain already mentioned bullfighting. Records are found of the first bullfights in the area that is now Mexico City in 1526, as a celebration of the return of Cortés.
The 'maturity' of Mexican bullfighting started with the arrival of the Spaniard Luis Mazzantini in 1887. However, bullfighting was banned in Mexico City several times: from 1867 to 1887 and from 1916 to 1920. Between 1925 and 1945, Mexican bullfighting lived a 'Golden Age', when even the bullfighting industry separated itself from Spain for a while due to restrictions imposed about the number of Mexican bullfighters allowed to perform and people also started talking about the distinctive style of Mexican matadores.
Today, the bullfighting industry has at least 500 permanent bullrings (37 important ones), more than 280 breeding farms for 'bullfighting bulls', and at least twelve bullfighting schools.
The biggest bullring in the world, with space for 42,000 people, is La Monumental in Mexico City. It was opened on 16 February 1942, a date the Mexican anti-bullfighting movement finds very significant. The bullring was built with support of the Lebanese businessman Neguib Simón. Initially, the plan was to build many 'sports buildings', but eventually they only built a football stadium and the bullring.
The most bullfighting city in Mexico is Aguascalientes, in the centre of the country. It has two bullrings, where many bullfights take place during the year.
Bullfighting is legal in Mexico because even if some states do have animal protection laws, they exclude bullfighting and cockfighting. There is no federal law that deals with domestic animals and it cannot be created, since although wild animal legislation is of federal competence, domestic or captive animal legislation is of state competence. Not all states that do have legislation can apply it, because often no regulations have been written for it. For instance, in Mexico DF, the legislation is only applied in one district, since it is the only one that does have regulations.
In Mexico DF, the animal protection law prohibited the attendance of minors to bullfights in 2002 and this was enforced for a while. However, the Governor caved to the pressure of the bullfighting industry and he ordered that the law should be interpreted as 'children without accompanying adults', so now the situation is as it was before.
Since the European bullfighting regulations do not allow children under 16 years old to perform in public bullfights, many matador students go to Mexico to continue their training and be able to learn the 'public' aspect of bullfighting, so when they reach 16, they can go back to Europe and have 'the edge' over their competitors. Mexico is wellknown for its child bullfighters, such as the infamous French-Mexican bullfighter Michelito Lagravere.
As far as fiestas with bulls are concerned, Mexico, like in Spain, also has its own religious festivals linked to bullfighting activities. The most infamous one is the Embalse de Toros in Tlacotalpan (Veracruz state), which is basically a bull run celebrated in honour of the Virgen de la Candelaría, where seven or more Indian bulls are forced to drink liquor and to swim through a deep river, tied with ropes to little boats, and then are heavily abused and killed by the crowd.
In the Yucatan peninsula, there is an activity known as toro saca tripas or mata caballos (officially known as toros caballistas) where many horse riders on unprotected horses chase one 'agressive bullfighting bull' in a closed improvised bullring. The tormented bull charges the horses invariably, goring them to death. This is not a structured or purposely designed event to kill horses, but an improvised chaotic mix of horses and bulls that, due to the horses' deaths, is 'popular' among those attracted by the morbid sights, so nothing is done to protect the horses.
Tips for tourists
CAS International has made a list of tips for tourists, so you can also help us abolish bullfighting and other cruel events with bulls and other animals as a tourist.
The main tip: never go to a bullfight or a cruel fiesta, like the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona!
Please take a look here for more tips.
Videos of bullfights, cruel fiestas and protests of CAS International and others.
In the CAS photo album, you can find photos of protests, bullfighting and cruel fiestas.
CLICK HERE for the photo album.