MADRID – The Spanish parliament has approved a bill that bans the use of little people in bullfights. This humiliating spectacle for people with dwarfism is no longer tolerated.
One of the notable features of the already controversial popular entertainment around animal abuse was the use of little people as clowns to cheer on the audience during the spectacle. This has now finally been banned by the Spanish Parliament, along with other activities that demean people with disabilities simply because of their condition.
“It is prohibited to organise shows or recreational activities that use people with disabilities or this circumstance to ridicule or mock the public in a way that is contrary to human dignity,” the text says.
The law states that people with disabilities can participate in public events and recreational activities, including bullfights, “without discrimination or exclusion that impairs their right to be fully integrated into the community.”
“We Are Not Clowns”
“We are not clowns. The clown puts on and takes off his costume, but we are who we are 24 hours a day,” said Marta Castillo, president of the Spanish Commission of Representatives of Persons with Disabilities (CERMI) in Andalucia.
The Spanish Committee of Deputies of People with Disabilities (Cermi), one of the initiators of the ban, had already managed to cancel some of these festivities in recent months.
Although the law is of a general nature, it has a particular impact on comedic bullfighting shows involving people with dwarfism, which, despite a loss of popularity, persist and are held notably during local patronal festivals.
Some protest against the law
However, not everyone is happy with the law. Groups such as “Diversiones en el Ruedo y sus enanitos toreros” (entertainment in the arena and its little people) believe that the law deprives them of an income. They defend that their activity is another form of bullfighting.
“We are bullfighters, we are artists, we are fed up with the bans, we don’t want ‘paguitas,'” the group posted on its Facebook page this week, inviting people to protest against the law. A ‘paguita’ is a negative reference to payments outside a normal employment relationship.
Some argue that the “enanitos toreros” empower themselves by demonstrating their abilities and making a living as bullfighters, while others believe the show perpetuates the stereotype of the “dwarf” and is therefore demeaning. Consequently, the issue raises questions about the rights of people with disabilities to choose their profession and whether it is appropriate to use their condition as a source of entertainment.