Cockfighting and performing animal circuses face Canary Islands ban

Fighting cocks were stolen.

THE government of the Canary Islands has drafted new legislation that will prohibit circuses touring with performing  animals and also cockfighting.

New legislation would regulate activities that were left out of the current law when it was introduced in 1991.

The draft of the Law on Protection and Tenure of Pet Animals will now be debated within the government and with outside organisations.


The Animal Protection Act of 1991 banned ‘bloody’animal sports and shows including bullfighting but the traditional sport of cockfighting went unregulated.

The new proposals have not gone unchallenged however.

There are 50 cockfighting associations spread over Tenerife, El Hierro and La Palma, the island where most cockfights are held.

President of the Gallística Federation, José Luís Martín, is appealing for the tradition to continue. 

“Our activity is more than 300-years-old and they are animals that are very different from chickens or poultry,” he explained. 

Martin said that the animals do not suffer because they usually use plastic spurs that do not lead to the death of the bird after the fight.

In addition to the prohibition of cockfighting, the new law will include a ban on travelling circuses with animals in the Canary Islands.

And there are also proposals to establish maximum quotas of ‘companion animals’  to protect their own welfare and also that of their neighbours.


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