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Federal court once again suspends bullfights in Mexico City, as activists and supporters lock horns

A bullfighter performs during a bullfight at the Plaza Mexico, in Mexico City, Sunday, Jan. 28, 2024. Bullfighting returned to Mexico City after the Supreme Court of Justice overturned a 2022 ban that prevented these events from taking place in the capital. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

MEXICO CITY (AP) — A federal court granted a temporary injunction against bullfighting in Mexico City on Wednesday, as activists and supporters of the practice once again locked horns in court.

Bullfighting had only just returned Sunday to the capital's Plaza Mexico, which held the city's first legal bullfight in almost two years.

The ruling will apparently force the postponement of fights scheduled for Feb. 4-6; organizers have not yet announced what they will do.

In May 2022, a local court ordered an end to bullfighting, ruling that the practice violated city resident’s rights to a healthy environment free from violence.

That case had been appealed to the Supreme Court, which struck down the ban on largely technical grounds but left the underlying questions unresolved.

But the joy of bullfighting enthusiasts only lasted a few days. Animal rights supporters quickly filed another legal challenge that resulted in Wednesday's ruling, which suspends fights until Feb. 7.

At that point, another hearing will be held to consider activists' complaints that the practice subjected the animals to cruelty and violated humans' rights to be free of degrading spectacles of cruelty and environmental insensitivity.

Animal rights groups have been gaining ground in Mexico in recent years while bullfighting followers have suffered several setbacks. In some states such as Sinaloa, Guerrero, Coahuila, Quintana Roo and the western city of Guadalajara, judicial measures now limit the activity.

Ranchers, businessmen and fans maintain that the ban on bullfights infringes on their rights and puts at risk several thousand jobs linked to the activity, which they say generates about $400 million a year in Mexico.

The National Association of Fighting Bull Breeders in Mexico estimates that bullfighting is responsible for 80,000 direct jobs and 146,000 indirect jobs.

The association has hosted events and workshops in recent years to promote bullfights and find new, younger fans.

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