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Colombia's congress votes to ban bullfights, dealing a blow to the centuries old tradition

Demonstrators take part in a vigil holding posters with messages that read in Spanish: "No more culture of violence" during a protest against bullfighting, which has been temporarily suspended as Congress debates its legality, in Bogota, Colombia, Friday, May 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara) Demonstrators take part in a vigil holding posters with messages that read in Spanish: "No more culture of violence" during a protest against bullfighting, which has been temporarily suspended as Congress debates its legality, in Bogota, Colombia, Friday, May 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)
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BOGOTA, Colombia -

Colombia's congress voted on Tuesday to ban bullfights in the South American nation, delivering a serious blow to a centuries old tradition that has inspired famous songs and novels but has become increasingly controversial in the countries where it is still practiced.

The bill approved by Colombia's congress calls for the banning of bullfights in a three year span, making the tradition illegal by the start of 2028. The new law now needs to be signed by President Gustavo Petro, who has been a long time opponent of these events.

Bullfighting originated in the Iberian peninsula and is still legal in Spain, France, Portugal, Peru, Ecuador and Mexico, among other countries.

It was once a popular event, broadcast live by multiple television networks. But the tradition has come under increased scrutiny as views change about animal rights, and many find it unacceptable to see an animal suffer for entertainment's sake.

In bullfights, a matador faces bulls that are bred to be aggressive. The matador taunts the bull with a red cape and kills the animal with the blow of a sword after it has tired of charging at the matador in a circular arena.

In Colombia, where bullfights have been held since colonial times, less than two dozen municipalities continue to hold these events, although the annual bullfights in the city of Manizales still draw tens of thousands of spectators.

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