For many Spaniards and foreigners alike, the mere idea of a bullfight in the 21st century is offensive enough. But one featuring bullfighting clowns with dwarfism has proved to be an idea that was well beyond the pale. 

The “comedy” show that was due to take place on October 8 in the capital’s Las Ventas bullring involves young bulls and people with achondroplasia, the genetic disorder that causes dwarfism. 

In the end, however, the Madrid regional government confirmed to Spanish daily El País that it had cancelled due to the low number of sales: just 37 tickets had been bought. 

Before the cancellation the nature of the event had prompted ire from disabled associations. The Spanish Committee of Representatives of People with Disability (CERMI) and the ALPE foundation for people with achondroplasia had both raised objections to the show. 

What’s more, the general director of the Rights for Persons with Disabilities department of the Social Rights Ministry, Jesús Martín Blanco, had also objected to the event. Speaking to El País, Blanco – who suffers a kind of dwarfism – explained how these kinds of shows would negatively affect him when they came to his town when he was a child, prompting bullying from other children. 

“This is not a question of not upsetting people, as the Madrid regional government has said, but about defending human rights,” he argued. “If they put a clown in the show with another kind of disability, such as someone with Down syndrome, there would be no debate and everyone would come out and protest.” 

The Social Rights Ministry is reportedly studying changes to Spanish law that would prohibit such events, on the basis that they are “degrading”. 


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