20 Sep, 2023 @ 11:11
1 min read

Valencia regional government to open probe into ‘dwarf bullfighting’ show authorised in early September

THE REGIONAL government in Valencia is to investigate a bullfighting festival after the line-up including so-called ‘dwarf bullfighters’, a form of ‘entertainment’ that is on its way to being prohibited by law in Spain. 

The justice department in the Valencian administration, which is run by far-right Vox after it reached a governing deal with the conservative Popular Party in the region, claims that it authorised the event without knowing that the dwarf bullfighters were on the bill. 

The event took place on September 9 in the municipality of Casinos, and was organised by a bullfighting association – known in Spanish as a peña – called L’Embola. 

Government spokesperson Ruth Merino told Spanish daily El Pais that an investigation will now be opened into what happened, and that if the request had specified that dwarf bullfighters were involved, ‘this type of event never would have been authorised’.

The probe comes after the Franz Weber Foundation, an environmental organisation based in Switzerland, filed a complaint about the event with the central Social Rights Ministry in Madrid, on the basis that it constituted a violation of the rights of people with disabilities. 

This is not the first time that the foundation has filed such complaints, prompting an outcry from the dwarf bullfighters themselves, who have repeatedly asked to ‘just be left to work’, arguing that their shows are a form of ‘overcoming’ their disabilities and that ‘there is no disrespect shown to any taurine professional’. 

The Senate has approved a law that will ban such events but it still needs to be passed by Congress before it comes into force.

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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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