Bullfighting has been banned by the parliament in one region of Spain.
Catalonia, an area in the north-east of the country with a strong separatist movement, has become the first part of the country’s mainland to outlaw the centuries-old tradition. It’s been banned in the Canary Islands for some years.
The ban, which will come into force in 2012, has been actively sought by animal rights activists, who want it extended across the whole country. Some have confronted matadors inside the ring or staged naked demonstrations.
Alessandro Zara, from the Spanish animal rights group Equanimal, said a worldwide ban would one day be a reality. “We will see it in our lifetime. One community after another will accept that bullfights are barbaric and have no place in a modern and ethical society,” he said.
However, some Spaniards see the vote as having more to do with Catalonia’s drive to reduce Madrid’s political influence than with the protection of animals.
The number of bullfights across Spain has dropped by a third in recent years, mainly because of the budget constraints of local governments, which often fund the spectacles. In Catalonia, there are now just over a dozen fights a year and the Monumental bullring in Barcelona is about the only place in the region that still stages them.
by Andy Moreton
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