The Administrative Litigation Chamber of the Supreme Court of Madrid (TSJM) has ordered the investigation of the film Snow White’s bullfighting scenes after animal rights protests.

The movie, shot in 2011, recorded for two days behind closed doors inside Aranjuez’s bullring and resulted in the deaths of 9 bulls. Animal rights activists claim that bullfights without administrative authorization, given only for public celebrations, constitute a serious offence under the Protection of Domestic Animals Law and the Care of Animals in Exploitation, Transport, Slaughter and Experimentation Law.

TSJM agreed with the Animal Strategy Association, known as Torture Is Not Culture Platform (LTNEC), and ordered the Environmental Bureau to open disciplinary proceedings to determine if the shooting was in fact illegal.

The Bureau argues that animal protection laws don’t apply to authorised bullfights, but LTNEC, comprised of 26 animal welfare organizations, say that because the bulls were killed in a closed-to-the-public fight, bullfighting protection laws don’t apply.

Article 23.4 of Law 1/1990 considers very serious offences “the use of animals in entertainment, fights, festivals and other activities involving cruelty or abuse that can cause animals suffering or make them subject to unnatural treatments” and “filming scenes with animals, for film or television, involving cruelty, abuse and suffering, when they are not simulated.”

In addition, Law 32/2007 defines as a very serious offence “the use of animals in film, television, art or advertising productions, even with the permission of the competent authority, if a death occurs.”

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