France enquires about legality of 10-year-old bullfighter
A 10-year-old bullfighter who is due to take part in a competition on Saturday may be violating labour laws limiting the work of minors.1 August 2008
MARSEILLE - French prosecutors said Thursday they had opened an enquiry to determine whether a 10-year-old Franco-Mexican torero's planned appearance at a bullfight is legal.
Bullfighter Michelito is due to take part Saturday in a competition in the southern town of Fontvieille between youngsters from French, Spanish and Latin American bullfighting schools.
But prosecutors in nearby Tarascon received a complaint by the Alliance Anticorrida animal rights groups, which said the event would be a breach of labour laws limiting the work of minors.
Prosecutor Vincent Mick told AFP that if a work contract had been signed and if Michelito, the son of retired French matador Michel Lagravere, was due to be paid, then this would be illegal.
The apprentice bullfighter, whose full name is Michel Lagravere Peniche, is scheduled to appear in several towns across southern France in the coming weeks.
Michelito usually works in various Latin American states where children are legally permitted to engage in bullfighting. In Spain, where bullfighting is a long-established tradition, the minimum age for matadors is 16.
French law bans cruelty to animals, but allows bullfighting in towns where there is a long and uninterrupted history of the activity.
There are dozens of such towns across southern France, and hundreds of bulls are killed in Spanish-style corridas each year.
Opinion polls repeatedly show that a majority of French people oppose bullfighting.
[AFP / Expatica]