01 August 2010

Catalonia bans bullfighting

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!


JD said...

It has nothing to do with animal welfare and everything to do with the "Cataluña is not Spain" mentality.
At the same time as passing laws to outlaw the Corrida they are tabling a motion in their Parliament to preserve the "Correbous" as a Catalan tradition.-
"La exclusión de los correbous de la ILP y la proposición de ley de CiU reafirman a los sectores taurinos en su convencimiento de que en Catalunya se persiguen las corridas por ser símbolo de la españolidad. Como los correbous –arguyen– son nostrats y tocarlos soliviantaría a las comarcas del Ebre, se dejan en paz."


But only to be expected. Catalans will tell you, in all seriousness, that everything to the south and west of Cataluña is Africa.

google the word correbous and see for yourself the great Catalan cultural tradition that must be saved.

You misquote Pere Gimferrer by the way-

elasticwaistbandlady said...

I read this a few days ago. I'm no animal rights activist but I still find it heartening that this barbarous ritual is coming to an end.

I bet there's going to be a huge surge in Shish-kabob restaurants opening up in Spain soon because what else is a bullfighter qualified to do other than spear meat?

Claude said...

Whatever the reason, the less bullfighting done, the better. I boycotted Hemingway for years because of the glamour he invested on toreadors.

jams o donnell said...

Claud, EWBL I consider bloddsports to be vile too. JD it does look likenationalism too precedence over compassion for animals.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

I agree with Claude.

jams o donnell said...

Absolutely, Welshcakes

SnoopyTheGoon said...

I am quite happy too. Not being an animal rights junky, there are much better ways to deal with beef.

BTW, in most of Spain beef cooking is a bit of an issue. One does better to avoid it. Jamon is another matter...

jams o donnell said...

I remember Serrano ham.. yum but I am a veggie!

Liz Hinds said...

I was convinced that Barcelona had already banned bullfighting. I must have dreamt it. Is there any other area in Spain that already has a ban?

jams o donnell said...

It's been on the cards for a while Liz. I doubt anywhere else in Spain has banned it or will ever ban it