Mexican state bans bullfighting

Mexico City, May 4 (EFE).- Sonora this week became the first Mexican state to ban bullfighting, passing a law against cruelty to animals, which, however, does not include the very popular spectacle of cockfighting, local legislative officials said Saturday.

"It has caused quite a stir because we are the first state of the republic to pass this law. I really didn't expect, I say this with all the honesty in the world, I didn't expect the repercussion this would have, nationally and internationally," the local lawmaker of the Ecologist Green Party of Mexico, or PVEM, Vernon Perez Rubio, said.

In a statement on Formato 21 radio, Perez Rubio hailed the decision taken on May 2 by that northwestern border state's legislature, which voted unanimously to pass the Animal Protection Law.

His party explained in a communique that the law "not only bans bullfighting" but "also protects other domestic animals."

The PVEM said the new law in Sonora puts them "a step closer to achieving one of the goals the Green Party has fought for, which is the prohibition of bullfighting nationwide."

The party believes that "clearly more than 70 percent of Mexicans are against the continuation" of bullfights in the country, on the basis of several public opinion polls.

In Sonora, citizens' demand for an end to bullfighting began two years ago, when a crowd of 18,200 came out before a bullfight was to start to ask that the spectacle by banned, Perez Rubio said.

"I'm against cockfighting. However, if we included a discussion on that subject, the law would never have passed," he said.

"Now with the law in place, it's very easy to launch a movement to end cockfighting if that's what people want," Perez Rubio said.