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La corrida, un acte de cruauté certes, mais conforme à la constitution française

2012.10.01

AUTHOR: Jean-Marc Neumann. Director of Legal Affairs of an international industrial group based in France. Master of Business Law from the University of Lille and a University Degree in English legal terminology and translation from the Institute of Comparative Law of Strasbourg. Trustee of the LFDA Foundation (Fondation Droit animal, Ethique et Sciences / Animal Law, Ethics and Sciences) based in Paris, France and a member of the American Bar Association / TIPS Animal Law Committee.

TITLE: La corrida, un acte de cruauté certes, mais conforme à la constitution française

PUBLICATION DATE: 2012
PUBLICATION PLACE: dA web Center, octubre 2012.


ABSTRACT

Two anti-corrida groups namely COMITE RADICALEMENT ANTI-CORRIDA EUROPE and DROITS DES ANIMAUX launched a complaint before the Administrative Court of Paris asking for the bullfighting to be taken off France's heritage list. Bullfighting was added, without any prior discussion and information, to the list by the former culture minister, Frédéric Mitterrand. Both groups alleged in their complaint that section 7 of article 521-1 of the criminal code (which article provides that in case of acts of cruelty toward any domestic animal and wild animals held in captivity, two years in prison and a 30,000 euro fine) providing an explicit exception for bullfights held in areas where an uninterrupted local tradition can be claimed infringes the equal protection principles guaranteed by the French constitution .They raised therefore a “ Question prioritaire de constitutionnalité” (application for a priority preliminary ruling on the issue of constitutionality) asking for the Constitutional Council to issue its ruling on the constitutionality of the challenged statutory provision and, if the provisions infringe the constitution as alleged by the two plaintiffs, to repeal the challenged statutory provision.
The Constitutional Council issued on 21 September 2012 its ruling according to which the bullfighting exception is sufficiently precise so as to not infringe the equal protection principles guaranteed by the French constitution .The “sages” (judges) considered that the lawmaker has the right to provide for differences in treatment as long as such difference is in direct relation with the object of the law and concluded that he (the lawmaker) did not infringe the constitution when providing for an exception for bull-fighting areas since the criteria of "uninterrupted local tradition" is sufficiently precise. This article comes back to the background and the legal arguments raised by the two plaintiffs and analyses the ruling of the Constitutional Council.

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