Moscow bullfight ban puts animals in peril

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The Independent Online

Anxiety is growing over the fate of 13 French bulls stranded in Moscow after the city's Mayor banned a bullfight in which they were to take part. They may now be slaughtered.

The bulls were brought to Russia from the south of France to take part in Moscow's first bullfight. But after pressure from a bizarre alliance of opponents, including the former actress Brigitte Bardot and the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Aleksei II, Mayor Yury Luzhkov stepped in to stop it.

Now nobody knows what to do with the bulls, and 19 cows, which are being kept on a farm outside Moscow under a contract that expires on 15 September. The bulls' chances of survival might have been greater if the fight had taken place, since it would have been conducted according to the Portuguese tradition in which the animal is not killed.

The organisers suspect the opponents of the fight have a political and humanitarian agenda. The Mayor asked for the bulls to be brought to Moscow two years ago.

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