ProToiro – Portuguese Federation of Tauromaquia considered that changing the minimum age to watch a bullfight, for 16 years old, “does not prohibit the entry of minors, who can continue to attend the shows”.
What was approved is an age classification change, not a ban on access by minors.”, the secretary general of Protoiro, Hélder Milheiro, began by telling Lusa, reacting to today’s decision by the Government to change the minimum age to watch a bullfight in Portugal from 12 to 16 years old.
“This measure follows the report of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child of September 27, 2019, which advocates raising the minimum age to watch bullfighting shows in Portugal”, explained the Government in the statement with the decisions taken this Thursday by the Council of Ministers.
However, Hélder Milheiro considered that, today, “or when the decree-law comes into force”, what is at stake is “a change in the age recommendation for attending the show”.
Any minor over the age of 3 and accompanied by an adult can still attend a show. Today they are classified for over 12 and minors can enter from the age of 3 by a responsible adult or by the parent”, he stated.
Lusa contacted the Ministry of Culture to clarify whether minors under 16 years old will be able to attend bullfights in it, as defended by ProToiro, which sent a response to the General Inspection of Cultural Activities (IGAC).
For its part, the IGAC said that it will only be able to comment later after the publication of the text approved by the Council of Ministers in the Diário da República.
To this extent, any response without this knowledge is premature.”, indicated the IGAC in a reply sent to Lusa.
Hélder Milheiro also said he “deeply regrets” what he considers to be “an attempt at censorship made by the PAN with the approval of the Government”, adding that the federation “will not fail to follow legal channels to contest and prevent the measure from coming into effect. ”.
This measure is clearly illegal and unconstitutional also insofar as it restricts the rights and freedoms of minors.”, he accused.
According to the official, what is at stake is not “an issue related to the UN committee as the Government invokes in its reasoning”, recalling the existence of several reports by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child “that did not lead to any kind of action”.
It has no basis, which is notable for the levity of this type of recommendation”, he stressed.
Hélder Milheiro also added that the leader of the PAN (People-Animals-Nature) has already made public that this change “is a negotiation of the State Budget, a negotiation between the PAN and the Government to guarantee their vote in the State Budget”.
We have a Government that negotiates the rights and freedoms of minors, access to culture belongs to all citizens, including minors.”, he accused, stressing that just as education is chosen by parents, they are also the ones who decide which shows to do with their children.
The PAN today considered a “very important victory” for the party to raise, from 12 to 16, the minimum age to watch a bullfight in Portugal, indicating that it resulted from the negotiation of the State Budget.
We welcome this very important victory of the PAN which, after several demands, sees its concern recognized, assisting the Government to take this civilizational step towards protecting our children and young people, avoiding exposing them to the violence of bullfighting, such as as the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child had already warned“, said the spokeswoman, Inês de Sousa Real.
The age of 16 is also the minimum age for “access to and exercise of the activities of a bullfighting artist and a bullfighting show assistant,” the Government added in the statement.
The United Nations Committee on Children’s Rights had recommended Portugal to change the minimum age to watch bullfights to 18 years.
Increasing the minimum age to watch bullfights has also been a requirement of parties such as PAN and BE, which in the past have presented proposals in this regard in the Assembly of the Republic and directly to the Government, in the case of People-Animals-Nature, in the scope of negotiations of the State Budget.
On the other hand, the measure approved today by the Council of Ministers was included in the Government’s program, approved in 2019.
The legislation in force until now, a decree of February 2014, determines that “artistic shows and public entertainments are subject to age classification”, with bullfighting for those over 12 years old.
The decree-law also states that the promoter of an artistic or public entertainment show “shall deny entry to minors when there are doubts about age given the age classification assigned, evaluated by common appearance criteria, unless accompanied by parents or of a duly identified adult who is responsible” for the child’s age.
The age of the minors is attested by the presentation of a document proving the claimed age, according to the same document.
Nowhere is it foreseen that children under the age of 12 can enter provided they are accompanied by an adult.