Bullfighting: Indefinite suspension of fights in Mexican venue

So far, only a handful of Mexico's 32 states have banned the practice. PHOTO: AFP

MEXICO CITY (AFP) - A judge on Friday (June 10) ordered an indefinite suspension of bullfighting in the world's largest bullring in Mexico City, pending the finalisation of a lawsuit against the controversial, centuries-old practice.

Mexico is a bastion of bullfighting, but the tradition - and the 50,000-capacity Plaza Mexico - face an uncertain future.

In December, an animal welfare commission in Mexico City's legislature approved a proposal to prohibit the custom in the capital.

Lawmakers have yet to vote on the plan, which dismayed supporters of bullfighting as well as the multimillion-dollar industry surrounding it.

So far, only a handful of Mexico's 32 states have banned the practice, which was brought by the Spanish conquistadors in the 16th century.

Friday's ruling, which can still be appealed, follows another last month to temporarily ban bullfights on Plaza Mexico - the first such suspension amid years of legal action by civil organisations seeking a ban.

In reply to Friday's court decision to extend the suspension, the city council said it would defer scheduled bullfights, the next of which was scheduled for July 2.

But it vowed to "continue the legal defence" of what it said was "Mexican customs and traditions."

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