Spain's Catalonia votes to outlaw bullfighting

Wed Jul 28, 2010 10:46am EDT

1 of 12. Spanish bullfighter Jose Tomas performs a pass to a bull during a bullfight at Monumental bullring in Barcelona, July 5, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Carlos Cazalis

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(Reuters) - Catalonia's bullfighting ban, passed in the region's parliament on Wednesday, provoked passionate reactions throughout Spain.

Catalonia, a region of northeastern Spain with a strong separatist movement, will become the first part of the country's mainland to outlaw the centuries-old tradition. It has been banned in the Canary Islands for some years.

The ban was pushed by animal rights activists who want it extended across the entire country, but some Spaniards saw the vote as having more to do with Catalonia's drive to cut Madrid's political influence than with the protection of animals.

VICENTE ESTEBAN, Madrid, 63, taxi driver

"It's a real shame, it's been our national festival forever. People don't have to go to the bullring and if they don't like animals to die they better not eat meat either. Every living thing suffers." Esteban goes to bullfights several times a year and fears the ban could catch on in other provinces.

SARA LUBRERAS, Plencia, Basque Country, 33

"I think this decision is fantastic. At this stage of the 21st century, this is a horrible abuse of animals and appalling that we can call animal-suffering a festival.

"I couldn't eat meat knowing that the animal had been killed while people applauded its death. I'd be capable of becoming a vegetarian."

PACO CARMONA, Madrid, former bullfighter and trainer

"I'm one more you can add to those who believe that this is a political issue ... Bullfighting has been used politically from the Second Republic to (former dictator Francisco) Franco (...) and the truth is it's not as cruel as it's made out to be..."

UNNAMED ACTIVIST, outside Barcelona parliament

"We are very happy that reason and compassion won against

barbarism. We have been working for many years toward this."

FERNANDO MASEDO, Badajoz, Extremadura, head of the International Federation of Bullfighting schools

"There are other types of abuse that aren't under attack... The Catalans voted how they did just because this is something Spanish." He added that he did not foresee similar moves in other regions of Spain.

SIRA BILBAO, El Madrid, Asturias, 46, businesswoman

"The art of bullfighting isn't an art when there's blood involved. They could go through the whole ritual without killing the bull. There are traditions that have to adapt to current times. Look at women in the workforce."

LUIS VILLANUEVA, Jerez de la Frontera, Cadiz,

"It really hurts because we'd gone a long time with no prohibitions. I feel really bad for the fans in Barcelona, which is a great bullfighting city and now they'll have to go to France or somewhere else to follow the sport." He said bullfighting survived religious and political bans in the past.

ORIOL CAMPS, Reus, Catalonia, 34, notary

"People are obsessed with interpreting everything in Catalonia as a political divide. When the Canary Islands banned bullfighting it was accepted that it was a people's movement. This is a question of cruelty to animals."

GERARD PUJOL, Tarragona, 43, estate agent

"Finally, we've overcome this evil curse."

PACO DE CASAS, Jerez de la Frontera, Cadiz, 73, retiree

"It's ridiculous for bullfighting to be prohibited. Haven't they realized the number of jobs that will be destroyed by this? And bulls are a classic part of Catalonia ... I can't understand this decision."

PABLO GALLEGO, La Coruna, Galicia, 41, architect

"This is more about Catalonia wanting to separate itself from anything Spanish. Bullfighting isn't a big part of Galician culture, but no one here is trying to prohibit it. It's something that should be decided by people and not politicians." EVA MORENO, Valencia, 43, flamenco dancer

"They're in their own right to prohibit it, but I don't think it reflects sentiment across the rest of Spain. There's still a lot of bullfighting aficionados. It's part of our culture."

(Reporting by Inmaculada Sanz, Alice Tozer, Tracy Rucinski and Fiona Ortiz, editing by Peter Millership)

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Comments (2)
Rainsua wrote:
I am overjoyed to hear the good news. I resent the fact that bullfighting is called a “Sport”. I can understand hunting being called a Sport because the outcome is never 100% certain and there’s always a chance for the prey to outsmart the hunter (however small it can be). Bullfighting involves nothing more than torturing and fooling an animal with the purpose of entertaining an audience. The outcome is already decided as there is no case when the bull’s life is “spared”. The only thing left to chance is if the “matador” is hurt or not. Bullfighting belongs in the middle ages when also public hangings and dogs fighting and were considered suitable family entertainment. It is not a matter of hypocrisy as some argue because there is no one that can deny that even though slaughter houses do exist and animals are killed there and suffer a horrible faith, it is understood by everyone that it’s all a nasty business and certainly nothing worthy of praise or admiration but simply a price to pay to obtain something to eat that is in itself under more and more questioning as man evolves and sees the wickedness in raising an animal that is not ever to see the sun or experience any emotion other than fear until he is fat enough and put to death.

Jul 28, 2010 12:33pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
forzapista wrote:
About time Spain started moving into the 21st Century. It seems like a pretty lopsided fight anyway. The Matador gets swords and every time he gets into trouble he has a posse of people come get his butt out of trouble. It’s not a sport, it’s a slaughter. Nothing wrong with killing animals but torturing them in a public spectacle is hardly civilized.
As for the cultural argument, gimme a break. History is filled with plenty of examples of “cultural” practices that are no longer practiced and considered barbaric.

Jul 28, 2010 1:16pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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