I know this is not a hot new item but it is still very pleasing to see that bullfighting is to be banned in Catalonia.
According the Guardian deputies voted by 68 to 55 in favour of a people's petition calling on the bullfight to be banished from a region that once played host to some of the world's greatest fights. The ban will start in 2012.
About 13,500 fighting bulls die in Spain every year – many in bullfights funded by local authorities who are estimated to pay out up to €550m (£457m) in subsidies.
In Spain, critics have accused Catalan nationalist deputies of voting out of spite, because the fighting bull is an emblem of Spain – where it is known as the "national fiesta" – rather than of Catalonia. The local El Periódico newspaper reported that several nationalist deputies had decided to back the ban only after Spain's constitutional court struck down parts of the region's 2006 autonomy charter earlier this month. At least 430,000 people, or 6% of all Catalans, protested on 10 July in Barcelona against the court's decision ,which declared Catalonia was not legally a nation.
Animal rights campaigners were upset that identity politics had been brought to play. "The issue is a moral one, not a nationalist one," said Dr Salvador Giner, head of the Catalan Studies Institute in Barcelona. "Bear-baiting was suppressed long ago and this is the same logic. Are we a modern nation, or are we going back to the middle ages?"
Dr Giner said the bullfight had a long history in Catalonia. "But it is a barbarous tradition." He also denounced those who voted against bullfighting but protected the correbous, a form of bull-taunting popular in village fiestas in southern Catalonia. "That should be banned as well, even if politicians lose votes. That would be consistent."
The bullfight has been in decline in Catalonia for decades. There is only one major ring functioning in Barcelona, with just 15 fights a year. The city's other emblematic bullring, Las Arenas, is being turned into a shopping arcade, following a redesign by Lord Rogers.
"There was never a strong tradition of bullfighting there anyway, they do not breed bulls," said Frank Evans, the Salford-born veteran British bullfighter. "It is like Devon staging Rugby League games."
Bullfight campaigners said the ban would cost €300m in lost revenues, and argue that the fight was an art form, rather than a cruel bloodsport.
A petition calling for the ban to be extended to the capital of Madrid, home to the world's most famous bull-ring, Las Ventas, has 50,000 signatures. But there is little prospect of success.
The regional government, like that of Valencia, has declared the bull-fight to be a part of its "protected cultural patrimony".
Personally I welcome this move. As far as I am concerned what consenting adults get up to is usually not the concern of anybody else. The caveat is always that it does not involve children or animals. Bullfighting is cruelty dressed up with ritual, nothing else.
I will leave the last word to poet Pree Gimferrer who decribed the ban thus:"It is the worst attack on culture since our transition to democracy,"
I hope he didn’t mean that democracy destroyed Spanish culture!