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Top court rejects bid to ban cruel shows using animals

LIMA: Peru’s top court on Tuesday rejected a lawsuit brought by animal rights activists hoping to ban cock and bull fighting on grounds they are unconstitutional.

Peru has animal welfare laws but there is a clause that exempts cock and bull fighting as it considers them “cultural shows.”

The decision taken by the seven magistrates sitting on the Constitutional Tribunal is not open to appeal.

“The law didn’t receive the necessary votes to declare it unconstitutional,” said the court’s president Marianella Miranda, one of three magistrates to support the case brought by animal rights activists.

They needed five votes to ban the practices, which have been popular activities in Peru since the Spanish colonization.

Peru has more bull fighting arenas than football stadiums.

The arena in the Rimac neighborhood of Lima is one of the oldest in the world and was built in 1766.

More than 5,000 people had signed a petition, submitted in 2018, demanding that “all cruel shows using animals” be banned.

“I can confirm that there is no universal declaration of animal rights that has been adopted by either the UN or UNESCO,” said magistrate Carlos Ramos.

Bull and cock fighting are legal in many Latin American countries, but not in Peru’s neighbor Chile, where they were banned in 1818 when it declared independence.

Cock fighting was briefly barred in Peru in the 19th century.

“There are countries that already many years ago banned this so I don’t see why countries like Peru continue with this burden that does no good either for children or animals,” lawyer and animal rights activist Jorge Mori told AFP.

Defenders of bull and cock fighting say the livelihoods of 400,000 people involved in breeding these animals would be at risk if the activities were banned.

“For me it’s not animal mistreatment. For me (the bull) is a being that was created for this. A being with a body made for this and a being which lives thanks to this,” breeder Juan Manuel Roca Rey told AFP.

“If you didn’t have bull fights the entire bull species would disappear.”

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