Brazil High Court Rules Against Cowboys Making Sport of Pulling Bulls’ Tails
Supreme Court decision gratifies animal-right activists, angers rural practitioners of traditional pastime
By PAULO TREVISANI and MARLA DICKERSON
Oct. 7, 2016 5:07 p.m. ET
BRASÍLIA—Cowboy Daniel Lira has taken a lot of hard falls in the Brazilian rodeo sport of vaquejada, whose aim is to dump bulls onto their backsides.
The spectacle involves a pair of horsemen chasing a 600-pound bull across a dusty arena and trying to pull it to the ground by twisting and tugging on its tail. The sport is wildly popular in Brazil, where around 2,000 vaquejada events are held annually. Top tail-pullers can win big cash prizes and are considered rodeo royalty, their exploits celebrated in films and country songs.
But the toughest blow for Mr. Lira came late Thursday, when Brazil’s Supreme Court ruled the practice illegal. In a 6-5 decision, the high court declared vaquejada (vah keh ZHA da) inflicts needless cruelty on animals in violation of Brazil’s constitution.
“For all practical matters, vaquejada has been banned,” Justice Marco Aurélio Mello said on Friday. “It is against the constitution.”
Anti-rodeo activists are celebrating the ruling as a major advance for animal rights. Foes have long decried the broken bones and mutilated tails suffered by the bulls, whose careers in the rings are often short and painful.
But Mr. Lira and other aficionados are stunned and angry that a touchstone of Brazil’s cowboy culture has been swept away by jurists in fancy robes. The 22-year-old earns his living on the rodeo circuit, vying for prize money and selling leather goods and horse tack to other cowboys. His parents met at a vaquejada event.
“These people who ruled against vaquejada have no idea of our reality, our pride, how we take care of our horses and cattle,” said Mr. Lira, who ...(Continuar Lendo)Brazil High Court Rules Against Cowboys Making Sport of Pulling Bulls’ Tails