Spain’s parliament has banned “comic” bullfighting events featuring dwarves dressed in costumes, in a decision applauded by disability rights groups but condemned by the few surviving performers.
Dwarves in Spain have long dressed as firefighters or clowns to chase bulls without killing them, at public spectacles designed to be humorous. The tradition stretches back decades, but has declined in popularity.
The law approved on Thursday brings Spain into line with European Union directives on discrimination against disabled people, and was hailed by campaigners.
“People with dwarfism were subjected to mockery in public squares in our country, passing down the idea that it is OK to laugh at difference to so many girls and boys who go with adults to see these shameful performances.”
A handful of the remaining performers staged a protest in front of parliament to condemn the ban.
“They take it for granted that people are being denigrated or laughed at, and it’s the opposite: the respect they have for us is impressive,” Daniel Calderon, a dwarf bullfighter, told the EFE news agency.