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France cuts bullfighting from cultural heritage list

Ben McPartland · 5 Jun 2015, 15:02

Published: 05 Jun 2015 15:02 GMT+02:00

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France is not a country many associate with bullfighting and a court in the country seems to agree.

Although the controversial spectacle, known as La Corrida in France, is fairly alive and well in certain parts of the south west, those who want to see it banned in France scored a symbolic blow this week.

Corrida was added to the French Ministry of Culture’s list of “intangible heritage” to much controversy back in 2011, before they removed any mention of it from their website amid a huge hullaballoo.

Animal rights campaigners wanted it withdrawn completely but an appeal court ruled that in the minds of judges it was already done and considered that bullfighting had been annulled from the heritage list.

Roger Lahaha, vice president of the animal rights group CRAC Europe described the decision as “an immense victory”.

“It is one more step towards the abolition of a barbarism that belongs to another age,” he told France's Huffington Post.

But they may have a long way to go before they see it banned in France, especially with Spanish born Manuel Valls – a keen fan of bullfighting - now the country’s Prime Minister.

In 2012 Valls issued a staunch defence of the tradition saying: “It's a culture that we have to preserve. We need these roots, we should not tear them out.”

The intangible heritage list is created at the request of Unesco, which asks countries to identify their most prized traditions, which may be then be granted special heritage protection.

The most famous French tradition on the list is gastronomy, which was granted special protection back in 2010.

Story continues below…

Unlike tangible heritage - which refers to sites and monuments around the world- intangible heritage refers to cultural processes that “provide living communities with a sense of continuity in relation to previous generations and are of crucial importance to identity."

OPINION: 'Bullfighting is a French ritual so leave us in peace'

Ben McPartland (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

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