French lawmakers vote on bullfighting ban

President Emmanuel Macron sees the issue as a distraction

PARIS, France (AFP) — French members of parliament are expected to vote for the first time Thursday on a complete ban on bullfighting, after a national debate that has pitched animal rights defenders against fans of the traditional blood sport.

Though public opinion is in favor of outlawing the practice, the bill is expected to be rejected by a majority of lawmakers who are wary about stirring up the bullfighting heartlands in the south of the country.

There is also a chance that the legislation, proposed by a vegan left-wing lawmaker, fails to be presented for a vote in the National Assembly at the last minute.

“There will not be a ban tomorrow,” President Emmanuel Macron said on Wednesday. “We need to go towards a conciliation, an exchange. From where I am sitting, this is not a current priority.”

His government has urged members of parliament not to support the text from the opposition France Unbowed party, even though many members of the ruling centrist and center-right coalition are known to personally favor it.

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