Ridicule Vs. Respect
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The Spanish government passed a bill this week that will ban “comic” bullfighting events featuring dwarves wearing costumes, a move that disability rights groups welcomed but a few surviving performers criticized, the Associated Press reported.
Groups of people with dwarfism – self-styled as “dwarf toreros” – have long dressed as firefighters or clowns to chase bulls without killing them, a tradition that dates back decades.
Known as “dwarf bullfights,” the declining public spectacles usually take place during festivals honoring a town’s patron saint, according to Agence France-Presse.
The government approved the legislation which brings Spain into line with European Union directives on discrimination against disabled people.
Spain’s Royal Board on Disabilities said the contentious shows “passed the idea to so many girls and boys who go with adults to see these shameful performances that it is OK to laugh at the difference.”
But while disability rights advocates welcomed the decision, the move was criticized by some dwarf toreros.
They countered that the shows make them feel respected and appreciated, adding that the cancelation of the events could put their livelihoods at risk.
Some dwarf bullfighters protested outside the Spanish parliament ahead of the ban.