Thursday, July 29, 2010

A protest rather than a change of heart

The British press are making a lot out of the decision to ban bullfighting in Catalonia which is being hailed as a victory for animal rights. I know that many Brits are uncomfortable with the idea of bullfighting and so in fact are quite a few Spaniards especially the young.

The truth is that there was never a great tradition of bullfighting in Catalonia anyway. Of the two bullrings in Barcelona, only one is still operational and stages just 15 corridas each year.

The ban in Catalonia doesn’t necessarily mean that the people there are more sensitive to animal rights than in other parts of Spain. It has more to do with the fact that region is not recognised legally as a nation. The vote has been seen as a protest against that decision. Catalonia is not Spain therefore they will not entertain bullfighting which is seen part of Spanish culture.

Those who hope that the ban in Catalonia spreads to other regions of Spain will be disappointed. For example, the petition with 50,000 signatures to close Las Ventas in Madrid does not stand a chance of success. After all, Spanish royalty attend the bullfights there and they are hardly going to give up their seats in a hurry.

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