Spain wants to ban events with small people fighting young bulls

by Lorraine Williamson
little people bull fight controversy

MADRID – Spain wants to ban the shows in which little people (people with dwarfism) fight young bulls. 

According to the Spanish government, this form of entertainment is offensive to people with disabilities. However, the entertainers themselves find this ban disrespectful. 

These kinds of shows were staged in smaller Spanish towns and cities before the pandemic. Little people are often painted as clowns and they fight with young bulls as entertainment. Furthermore, these shows for the public, include many children. 

Shows insult to people with disabilities 

However, according to the Spanish Ministry of Social Rights, this form of entertainment is offensive to people with this disability. This issue was raised on Friday when a show was scheduled in Zahínos, Badajoz. The show was hosted by comedy troupe, Diversiones en el Ruedo, a troupe of fourteen bullfighters, including eight small people. Despite objections from the Ministry, the show went ahead, wrote El País. 

“Spain is a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities and we believe this kind of practice violates the rights of these people,” said Martín Blanco, head of the section overseeing the rights of people with disabilities. within the Ministry of Social Rights. 

“Spain is helping to create an unhealthy society” 

Martín Blanco himself suffers from a form of dwarfism and is very critical of these shows which are intended for the entertainment of children and where it is ‘normal’ for these people to be laughed at. “When parents and city councils teach children that it’s okay to laugh at people who are different, we are helping to create an unhealthy society,” he told El País. 

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Ban Spanish government disrespectful 

However, manager Daniel Calderón of the aforementioned comedy group believes that the desire to ban this shows a lack of respect and freedom. According to Calderón, everyone should be free to do what they want: “They are all professionals and they are grateful to have a job instead of being dependent on benefits.” 

Calderón: “Contrary to what has been said before, the little clowns are an idol for the children. Precisely because they are the same size, the children feel a stronger bond with them and the step to one day stand in an arena seems a lot closer.” 

Spanish government offers retraining program 

Despite what Calderón says, Martín Blanco is convinced that not every little person in this industry had a free choice of career. According to him, these people are portrayed as ‘lesser’ and that is something that should be prohibited by law. If successful, the government plans to offer a retraining program to the 70 to 80 people employed in this trade. 

However, issues related to bullfighting are the responsibility of the Ministry of Culture. Therefore, legislative changes and the resulting measures will have to be discussed between the two ministries. 

How many shows are still taking place in Spain? 

According to recent data, shows like this aren’t as common as they used to be. However, the data on this is obscured. In 2019, there were 349 bullfighting events, 11 of which were by comedy companies. There were virtually no events in 2020 due to the pandemic. The aforementioned comedy group says it has performed a few dozen shows a year before Covid-19. 

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