close
Advertisement
Can't connect right now! retry

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

Sports

AFP
March 7, 2019

Portugal´s bullfighting culture woos kids to boost its audience

Sports

AFP
Thu, Mar 07, 2019

LISBON: Portugal´s bullfighting tradition is on its knees, having seen attendance fall nearly by half in the past decade.

Now the stalwarts of the centuries-old practice are reaching out to children, hoping to turn them into future fans, to the dismay of animal rights advocates.

It was a family affair, with children enjoying arena-shaped bouncy castles and demonstrations by apprentices of their bullfighting skills, stopping short of sticking the animals with lances called banderillas.

The event drew criticism from animal rights group Basta, which denounced the "exposure of children to the violence of bullfighting" as contravening a 2014 opinion by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.

Pedro Antunes, 34, a bank employee who brought his five-year-old son Tiago to the event, saw things differently.

"I don´t go to a bullfight very often but I wanted my son to see what it was like. As the programme didn´t include anything violent, I thought this would be a good occasion to do so," Antunes told AFP.

For Paulo Pessoa de Carvalho, president of Portugal´s bullfighting federation ProToiro, the event was intended "to restore the tie between the bull and Portuguese culture -- and increase our audience."

Campo Pequeno, a stunning neo-Moorish building dating from 1892, underwent a six-year overhaul to become a multi-event venue, reopening in 2006 to host famous bands as well as bullfights, with an underground shopping centre, cinema and restaurants added to the mix.

On "Bullfighting Day", however, spectators occupied hardly a third of the 7,000 seats.

Children suited up in traditional matador costumes took a stab at fighting dummy bull heads mounted on two wheels before returning to the stands.

Then real bulls were let into the arena and the crowd was treated to a demonstration of all aspects of Portuguese bullfighting.