Plaza de Toros, Barcelona.Spain’s constitutional court has overturned Catalonia’s controversial ban on bullfighting, imposed by the regional government in 2010.
Nine of the 12 judges ruled that the “preservation of common cultural heritage” was the responsibility of the state and that the Catalan parliament had exceeded its authority in banning what the court described in a statement as “one more expression of a cultural nature that forms part of the common cultural heritage”.
Though the ban on bullfighting enjoys wide popularity and political support in the region, critics have long insisted that it is more anti-Spanish than it is pro-animal rights. They point to a loophole in the Catalan law that exempts the traditional correbous – festivals where bulls are pursued, often with flaming torches attached to their horns – from the ban. Animal rights activists claim that, although the bulls aren’t killed, the correbous are nevertheless cruel.