EFEMexico City

More than 85,000 people, including actor Eugenio Derbez and Cafe Tacvba singer Ruben Albarran, have signed a petition to ban bullfighting in the northwestern Mexican state of Baja California, a measure that the state legislature is scheduled to take up on April 7.

"The Congress of Baja California is on the verge of debating whether to prohibit bullfighting or not. If we can convince lawmakers that there are thousands of us who oppose this cruel and inhumane practice, we could bring about a historic change," the petition posted on Change.org says.

More than 150 grassroots, community, citizens, writers, artists and other groups called on Baja California's lawmakers to "abolish bullfighting in the state and not let themselves be pressured by the bullfighting lobby," the Tijuana-based Abogados Animalistas animal rights group said.

The animal rights activists said National Association of Bull Ranchers president Manuel Sescosse presented "an exaggerated vision of the supposed economic benefits of bullfighting" during a recent visit to the state legislature.

Actor Marco Antonio Regil and designer Tanya Moss also signed the petition.

Three states - Coahuila, Sonora and Guerrero - have banned bullfighting, a form of entertainment that has become increasingly unpopular in Mexico.

Mexico, Colombia, Peru and Ecuador are the Latin American countries where bullfighting is most deeply rooted.

Chile, for its part, banned bullfighting shortly after gaining its independence from Spain in 1818, but rodeos, another target of animal rights activists, are popular in the South American country.