Portugal to Stop Children Watching Gruesome Bullfighting

After a statement published by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child highlighted the harmful effects that witnessing violent abuse of any sentient being – including bulls – can have on a child, Portugal has raised the minimum age for watching gruesome bullfighting from 12 to 16.

We’re glad Portugal has taken this progressive step to protect children, but wouldn’t it be better for everyone – including the bulls who suffer in the bullring – if the nation banned the violence and bloodshed completely?

Why the Minimum Age for Watching Bullfighting Was Raised

This progress comes after the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child identified the harmful effects on children of witnessing violence against sentient beings of any kind. The committee had recommended that Portugal change the minimum age for watching bullfighting to 18.

The issue came into the spotlight after the European Link Coalition provided the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child with video evidence and children’s testimonies, highlighting the connection between animal abuse and childhood trauma.

Animal Abuse and Child Protection

The bloody violence displayed in bullrings is enough to traumatise any child. The research shows that children exposed to violence and abuse – of any kind – can experience a lack of empathy and even a need to re-enact the abuse as a result.

Not only does PETA support the work of the European Link Coalition – which has helped to raise awareness of the topic – we also have free humane education materials for teachers who want to make a difference by instilling in their students respect and compassion for all animals.

What’s Wrong With Bullfighting

Every year, approximately 40,000 bulls are violently killed in bullrings across Europe and 250,000 animals are stabbed in bullfights worldwide.

Bullfighters taunt, exhaust, and stab each bull with a lance and several harpoon-like banderillas until he becomes weakened from blood loss. Then, the matador stabs the wounded animal with a sword, and if he doesn’t die straight away, other weapons are used to cut his spinal cord.

Many bulls are paralysed but still conscious as their ears or tail are cut off to be given to the matador as trophies.

Help End the Bullfighting Industry

Bullfighting is torture, not culture. Any child would be left traumatised by watching such a cruel spectacle. Portugal has made important progress by raising the minimum age for watching bullfighting, but if the government truly wants to protect young people (and bulls, too), the only solution is to ban this bloodshed altogether. The industry needs to end.

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