19 Apr, 2023 @ 20:00
1 min read

Spain moves closer to ban on ‘dwarf bullfights’ as law approved by Senate

dwarf bulllfighting DiversionesenelRuedo
dwarf bulllfighting DiversionesenelRuedo

SPAIN has taken a step closer to banning comedy bullfights where the human protagonists are dwarves, as well as erotic shows at stag or hen nights where people with the same medical condition are hired for entertainment. 

That’s according to legislation that has just been approved by Spain’s upper house of parliament, the Senate, and which is based on a European Union directive that prohibits entertainment shows that involve the humiliation of people with a disability. 

The new law has been promoted by the Social Rights Ministry, and will still have to be sent back to the lower house of parliament, the Congress of Deputies, for its definitive approval, according to a report in Spanish daily El Pais

‘These kinds of shows provoke laughter and the mockery of people with dwarfism, and they show children how to laugh at us,’ Marta Castillo, the president of the CERMI committee for disabled persons in Andalusia, told the newspaper. 

‘We are not clowns,’ she added. ‘Clowns put on and take off their costumes, but we are who we are 24 hours a day.’

In September 2022, an event featuring bullfighting clowns with dwarfism that was due to take place the following month in Madrid’s Las Ventas ring was cancelled due to low ticket sales. 

The event had already raised the ire of disabled associations, with the Spanish Committee of Representatives of People with Disability (CERMI) and the ALPE foundation for people with achondroplasia both raising objections to the show. 

Back in 2021, however, when the Social Rights Ministry’s plans first came to light, there was an angry reaction from the dwarf bullfighters themselves. 

‘It shows a complete lack of respect and freedom,’ said at the time Daniel Calderon, a bullfighter and the manager of the Diversiones en el Ruedo troupe. ‘We are skilled professionals who work hard and we entertain like other performers,’ he added.

Read more:

Madrid event with dwarf bullfighters cancelled after just 37 tickets are sold

British architect Norman Foster designs this year’s poster for the new bullfighting season in Sevilla

Simon Hunter

Simon Hunter has been living in Madrid since the year 2000 and has worked as a journalist and translator practically since he arrived. For 16 years he was at the English Edition of Spanish daily EL PAÍS, editing the site from 2014 to 2022, and is currently one of the Spain reporters at The Times. He is also a voice actor, and can be heard telling passengers to "mind the gap" on Spain's AVLO high-speed trains.

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