Why is public funding used to support bullfighting in France?



According to this article bullfighting is allowed only within a small portion of France and also requires some public funding to be alive:

Bullfighting takes place in only 10% of the French national territory. Despite the fact that the penal code clearly recognises bullfights as “cruel acts and serious ill treatments towards animals” (article 521 -1), bullfighting is allowed to continue in this minority area as an ‘uninterrupted local tradition’.

The French bullfighting industry is kept alive by public funding. They receive money from towns and/or departements, regions, the State and Europe.

This dependence on public funds for bullfighting led to the City of Arles becoming 300,000 Euros in debt because of the 2008 Féria1 and to Bayonne’s 247,250 Euros debt in 2007.

On 22 April 2011, French culture minister Frédéric Mitterrand officially inscribed bullfighting on a list enumerating the country's cultural heritage.

However, in 2015, a French court removed bullfighting from the country's cultural heritage list:

Animal rights campaigners in France cried victory on Friday after a court ruled that bullfighting should be taken off a national cultural heritage list.

Question: why bullfighting receives public funding despite being removed from cultural heritage list?


Posted 2017-06-28T13:03:19.833

Reputation: 43 325

1French bullfighting is not Spanish bullfighting. What it mostly consists of is people running up to the bulls and yanking colored ribbons off the nose and ears of the bulls, who are not particularly harmed in the process. Yes, it might be considered animal baiting but it is not a blood sport in the sense of Spanish corridas, or rooster or dog fights. Were you aware of that when asking the question? – Italian Philosophers 4 Monica – 2020-07-12T21:08:18.637

@ItalianPhilosophers4Monica: there are deaths of bulls during French corridas. Here is an example (in French) from the feria in Nimes: https://www.midilibre.fr/2019/06/08/nimes-revivre-la-corrida-entre-deux-paseos,8246342.php. Running around bulls is only one part of ferias. It may be not as big as in Spain, and becoming less popular, even locally, but it is a thing.

– Taladris – 2020-07-12T23:31:38.733

@Taladris I sat on one of those when I was a kid. There was no attack on the bulls whatsoever. If anything, the more likely outcome is that a toreador is going to get gored to death. And I am not even sure if the policy is to kill the bull then. Now, if there are Spanish type kill corridas, fine, let's complain. But the one I saw had nothing similar whatsoever going on and seemed plenty traditional, neither touristy nor toned down, about 40 yrs ago, around Avignon. So let's be clear about what we are talking about, without propagating inapplicable memes. – Italian Philosophers 4 Monica – 2020-07-13T07:09:47.500

@ItalianPhilosophers4Monica: a sample of one lol. I provided you another data point. No one said that the killing of the bull in the arena is systematic. But it does happen regularly, in particular during ferias. Note that the killing of the bull is not a tradition of every area in the South and there is a lot of very local disparities. If the killing is not part of the local tradition (for example, in Rieume), the killing is then illegal. Note also that in the courses camarguaises, they use hooks to snatch the cocarde (ribbon) from the bull. So bulls also get hurt in these events. – Taladris – 2020-07-13T07:47:57.390

@Taladris If I sat at just one soccer match and told you that they do not touch the ball with their hands, that would be a "sample of one"? I am not saying none of the French bullfighting ever involves killings. I am saying that a good deal of it doesn't and that the question ought to separate non-killing vs killing bullfighting and not imply that it's all Spanish style killing. As far as bulls getting hurt, allow me not to feel overly concerned considering that for their species the alternative is usually ending up as on your plate. I have lotsa contempt for kill corridas, btw. – Italian Philosophers 4 Monica – 2020-07-13T21:15:11.560

1Animal rights campaigners nor some court have the right to obliterate the cultural expression of a group of peoples. – easymoden00b – 2017-06-28T18:15:13.553

1@easymoden00b: in French law, freedom is not absolute and your freedom is limited by the freedom of others ("la liberte des uns s'arrete a celle des autres", as we say). Animals being part of "others", and what kind of rights they hold, is a vivid debate in France. The Parliement may decide someday that regional culture is not an excuse and forbid bullfighting on all territory. As a similar example, although it was integral part of the local culture, polygamy is forbidden in Mayotte since the island had been integrated to the Republic as an overseas department. – Taladris – 2017-07-02T14:47:21.843



In short, bullfighting is removed from the list of national cultural heritage, but it is still a regional uninterrupted cultural heritage. As such, it can still be subsidized by various institutions, at the regional, national and supranational levels.

Cruelty against animal has been a crime way before the court ruling of 2015. As such, animal fighting (bulls, roosters, dogs, ...) is forbidden on all French territory. With at least two exceptions due to a regional uninterrupted cultural heritage:

  1. Bullfighting in the Southern part of France near Spain.
  2. Rooster fighting in North of France.


Posted 2017-06-28T13:03:19.833

Reputation: 2 050

Linking this to a source or two would be helpful. – Brian Z – 2020-07-12T23:06:44.717

I will try to find sources later – Taladris – 2020-07-13T07:49:31.493