Mexico City:  A commission of the Legislative Assembly of Mexico City approved a bill that would ban bullfights in the Mexican capital. Three of the panel's members endorsed the measure, while two others abstained and a sixth member walked out before the vote.  It will be up to the full assembly to decide whether the proposal becomes law.

The lawmakers who abstained said that banning bullfights would mean closing down a source of employment for a segment of the population. They also argued that at the forums held to hear arguments for and against, only critics of bullfighting were present. Civic organizations and defenders of animals expressed their satisfaction at this preliminary approval of the bill that seeks to end this institutionalized cruelty to animals. For its part, Mexico's small Green Party cheered the approval of a bill that has been bogged down for more than a year.

The party's spokesperson for environmental issues, Mariana Boy, said that while the measure must still be debated and approved in the full assembly, this is a "historic" step. She said that in Mexico there are some 225 bullrings and at least 22 bullfighting schools, many of which accept boys as young as six.