30 December 2013

Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding
of the Intangible Cultural Heritage
Place de Fontenoy 7
75007 Paris

Recognition of Bullfighting as Cultural Heritage

Dear Members of the Committee,

The image of the UN structure represents her commitment to peace, unity, protection and relief of suffering. We understand that UNESCO is committed to the material and immaterial protection, preservation and promotion of cultural treasures of “general interest to humanity” as mentioned under Art.19.2 of your Convention.
We define humanity as more peaceful and elevated than providing amusement by a variety of festive events exclusively dedicated to traditional abuse, torture and killing of the animals involved. We know that such events are harmful to the physical and mental health of participants and witnesses of all ages alike. Bullfighting may unjustly be legalized or condoned but we find no legal, ethical, religious, artistic or educational justification for ritually inflicted suffering.
Given the continuous global efforts of the UN – condemning violence and cruelty – to stop the suffering in conflict zones, we assume that our call to “Stop Suffering” rings a bell at UNESCO.

We are informed that the tradition of bullfighting is presented for recognition by your Committee as Cultural Heritage, presumably defined under Art.2.2.b/c of your Convention.
As we notice in your Convention, your frame of reference on Human Rights includes economic, social, cultural, civil and political rights. These human rights aspects are insufficient to assess controversial issues that are clearly detrimental to the rights of animals and/or nature.
In our view Cultural Heritage reaches beyond the Human Rights scope and we trust that UNESCO shares our view that – although it rarely if ever gets priority – humanity and rights include ethical or moral human standards for all species.

Regarding Cultural Heritage we have no objection whatever to culture and tradition per se, but we draw a line beyond dispute at suffering, especially if the suffering is intentional and for amusement.
If suffering is conditional to its sustenance, bullfighting is not meeting any valid standard for globally acclaimed cultural heritage – beside being a tradition – to preserve, let alone honor and promote bullfighting in the general interest of humanity. We call on you to take our argument in consideration.

With kind regards,

Drs P.M. Donker

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Declaración de la UNESCO sobre la tauromaquia en 1980

En 1980, la UNESCO, máxima autoridad mundial en materia de cultura, emitió su opinión al respecto:

"La tauromaquia es el malhadado y venal arte de torturar y matar animales en público y según unas reglas.
Traumatiza a los niños y a los adultos sensibles.

Agrava el estado de los neurópatas atraídos por estos espectáculos.

Desnaturaliza la relación entre el hombre y el animal.

En ello, constituye un desafío mayor a la moral, la educación, la ciencia y la cultura".

La cultura entendida según la RAE como "conjunto de modos de vida y costumbres, conocimientos y grado de desarrollo artístico, científico, industrial, en una época, grupo social, etc." sólo será constructiva y válida mientras apueste por dar valor al ser humano, transformarlo en un ser más sensible, más inteligente, y más civilizado.

La crueldad que humilla -a humanos o animales- y destruye por el dolor jamás se podrá considerar cultura."

Publicado por Onlywolfgirl

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Write to UNESCO:
Bullfighting is not culture; it is cruelty !

GO TO =>

Bullfighting is a cruel and bloody spectacle that kills tens of thousands of animals every year. Now bullfighting supporters in France and Spain have started the process to protect this cruelty by trying to get it listed as a form of cultural heritage. If successful, subsidies could be available to financially safeguard the future of bullfighting.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation preserves many expressions of genuine Intangible Cultural Heritage. Please let them know you would never support a move to accept bullfighting, or any other act of animal cruelty, as a practice worthy of such protection.

Please speak out for bulls today—sign on to our letter to UNESCO

Your Message


Intangible Cultural Heritage and Animal Cruelty
Bullfighting is not culture; it is cruelty

I am concerned that several political bodies have begun the process to recognise bullfighting and bull fiestas as cultural heritage assets.

Whilst I applaud the important work that UNESCO undertakes to preserve many expressions of cultural heritage, I would never support a move to accept bullfighting, or any other act of animal cruelty, as a practice worthy of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Within the countries in which these acts of animal cruelty take place there are large caring communities that oppose such blatant acts against sentient animals. Recent opinion polls have shown that bullfighting is not supported by the majority of citizens.

I would like to join you in celebrating many expressions of cultural heritage, but I could never celebrate animal suffering. Bullfighting is not culture, it is cruelty.

I trust that UNESCO would never give a veneer of respectability to the torment and stabbing to death of animals -- animal cruelty can never be an acceptable form of cultural heritage.

Yours faithfully,

[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, State ZIP]

ALSO IN 2012


- included example letter

From: Miguel Moutinho | ANIMAL

Sent: Sunday, February 19, 2006 8:59 PM
Subject: Urge the UNESCO to reject the proposal for bullfights to be recognised as an intangible cultural heritage of Humanity

Urge the UNESCO to reject the proposal for bullfights to be recognised as an intangible cultural heritage of Humanity

Portuguese and Spanish breeders of bulls for bullfights want the UNESCO, the United Nations organisation for education, science and culture, to recognise and safeguard bullfights and bullfighting activities as an intangible cultural heritage of Humanity

Two Portuguese and Spanish unions of breeders of bulls for bullfights, with the support of the International Bullfighting Association, have announced their intention to ask the UNESCO, the United Nations organisation for education, science and culture, to recognise and safeguard bullfights and bullfighting activities as an intangible cultural heritage of Humanity. With this initiative, the bullfighting industry will try to reinforce bullfighting activities through the recognition of these as cultural heritage to be praised, respected and protected, namely by Governments and Parliaments, which could block any attempt to ban bullfights wherever they exist. This is a situation in which your help and participation is crucial. It is also a very important opportunity to show to these industries that bullfights should become only a dark part of the past.

Please, write to the UNESCO through and ask this organisation to reject any proposal for bullfights and bullfighting activities to be accepted, recognised or safeguarded as intangible cultural heritage of Humanity. Please ask all your supporters or your friends to participate in this initiative. If you would like to know how to help end bullfights in Portugal, please contact ANIMAL through :: Campaigning to end bullfights in Portugal and in the world

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Letter to UNESCO :

Date: Wed, 22 Feb 2006
To: , ,

Subject: UNESCO to reject the proposal for bullfights to be recognised as cultural heritage


To the members of the UNESCO

Subject: Arguments against bullfights

Ladies and gentlemen,

We support animal protection in general.
We have been informed by ANIMAL in Portugal that UNESCO will be approached again to include bullfights in the Cultural Heritage list. So we repeat our arguments as these are still valid.
As we understand such a listing protects or sponsors the cultural object or tradition involved.

We are curious what bullfight-jewels are in need of UNESCO protection.
If any bullring in the world would match the Coliseum we will understand the recognition of a monument, although we wonder why that did not happen before. So we surmise it is about the traditional display of the bullfight. This tradition involves the deliberate torture and subsequent killing of bulls either inside the arena (Spain) or outside the arena (Portugal).

If a mere tradition is the measure we might as well have supported and sponsored crucifixion, witch burning and scalping. History abolished such publicly celebrated violent traditions as very bad habits and not as cultural heritage of humanity. Which is understandable as civilized society regards violence as a public order risk. More advanced societies understand that animal abuse is a potential public (mental) health threat as well.
We are amazed that so few people realize that festivals based on animal cruelty create a joyful atmosphere of "having fun", influencing children in their moral concepts on the value of life.
Witnessing a bullfight either creates disgust and depression, or admiration for perpetrators of animal cruelty.
The nature and sequence of the human acts in bullfights can be defined as sadistic. Sadism is a certified if not contagious mental illness that we do not want to spread.

On the analogy of Indian or African tribal war dances we have no objections to the museological preservation of weapons and costumes and the theatrical display of the artful music, dancing and stabbing. But leave the bulls out of it as they - like any other animal - have never asked to play a role in an animal abusing human game.
We have no objection against the preservation of whatever beautiful or silly traditions as far as they are harmless to people and animals alike. Consequently we are totally against any support of the bullfight, let alone an addition of this traditional game to a cultural heritage list.

With kind regards,

Marius Donker