Nanjing Night Net

Tide turns against bullfights in Spain

BARCELONA: Bullfighting looks likely to be banned in part of Spain as the Catalan Parliament prepares to vote to prohibit one of the country’s most emblematic, and bloodiest, traditions.In a move that campaigners hope will mark the beginning of the end for bullfighting in the country best known for it, a petition with 127,000 signatures was delivered to the Parliament this week. Under Catalan laws the Parliament must first vote on whether to accept the petition and then draw up a law, which would be subject to a second, definitive vote in several months.The law is likely to be passed. Minority separatist and far-left parties in the region are committed to supporting the ban, and the major parties allow their MPs to vote freely. Separatists claim bullfighting is not a Catalan tradition.Deputies have made it clear that, while they may ban bullfights, they will not prohibit Catalan fiestas in which bulls are chased through the streets and tormented, sometimes with balls of fire attached to their horns.The petition calls for a change in Catalonia’s animal cruelty law that would end the protection for fighting bulls.”If the deputies are going to behave like proper representatives of the people, then they must accept the ban,” Manuel Cases, of the Catalan Animals Rights Association, said. ”Seventy per cent of Catalans are against bullfighting.”The move has sparked an impassioned debate in a country where matadors are big stars. Bullfighting is referred to as ”the national fiesta” and reviews of bullfights are published in the arts pages of newspaper rather than the sports pages.Among those battling for bullfighting to continue are a group of artists and writers, including the painter Miquel Barcelo and the theatre director Calixto Bieito.”Banning the bullfight means banning part of our liberty,” they said in a manifesto published on Wednesday.They are backed by left-wing intellectuals who are unconditional supporters of the celebrity matador Jose Tomas. Tomas has done much to revive enthusiasm for bullfighting in Barcelona and other parts of Catalonia.Anti-bullfight campaigners hope, however, that if the ban goes ahead other Spanish regions will follow suit.”Everywhere in Spain the majority of people say they do not like bullfights,” Mr Cases said. ”Over time this will have to be prohibited. Otherwise we will be back in the Stone Age.”Guardian News & Media
Nanjing Night Net