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Colombian lawmakers voted to ban bullfighting in the Latin American country, bringing an end to the centuries-old tradition amid increasing controversy and a backlash from animal rights groups, CNN reported.

The draft law calls for the banning of the blood sport in three years’ time, to allow families financially dependent on the sport to find an alternative source of income.

The bill still needs to be signed by President Gustavo Petro for final approval. Petro, the country’s first leftist president, strongly opposes the practice and hailed the ban.

Bullfighting originated in Europe’s Iberian Peninsula and continues to be practiced in a number of countries, including Spain, Portugal, Mexico, and Ecuador.

In Colombia, bullfights have been held since colonial times and continue to be practiced in fewer than two dozen municipalities, the Associated Press reported.

The spectacle sees a matador using a red cape to taunt a bull bred to be aggressive. The bull is then injured with lances and exhausted during the show before the matador uses a sword to strike the killing blow.

Observers said the event was popular in the past and would be broadcast live on television networks. But criticism against the sport became more vocal as views about animal welfare changed.

Animal rights advocates have slammed the sport for being barbaric and causing suffering to the animals.

But bullfighting supporters have described it as a form of “art” and a key source of income for bull breeders and street vendors working near areas where events are held.

They criticized the ban for infringing on the freedoms of minorities and warned that it could impact tourism in cities where these events draw in thousands of visitors.

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