The romantic imagery painted of Spanish bullfighting in Ernest Hemingway’s famous book The Sun Also Rises might soon be the stuff of history. Spain is edging ever closer to banning the sport.
[social_buttons]Thanks to a petition with 180,000 signatures, the regional government of Spain’s northeastern Catalonia area will soon debate banning the sport tied so closely to Spain’s image. Recent polling indicates that less than 30% of Spanish citizens like bullfighting, reflecting an overall trend that animals should be treated more humanely.
Of course, it is likely that opposition to banning the sport will be noisy, especially when it’s a multimillion dollar generating industry that’s subsidized by the Spanish government. Then there are also those fans to whom the sport is a profound tradition to be upheld, like a ten year old matador who set a Guiness World Record for killing six young bulls in one weekend despite protests. He later declared, “No one can stop me fighting… I was born a bullfighter and will die one.” At least this boy has been banned from bullfighting in Spain and now must practice his trade in Latin America.
The famous city of Barcelona has also made efforts to stop the torture that bulls face in the arena. In 2004 they passed a declaration that condemned bullfighting, but came short of banning it. 125,000 people still attended bullfights in Barcelona’s Monumental Bullring in 2008, showing the declaration alone was not entirely effective. In Spain’s Canary Islands, however, the sport has been successfully banned.
But now as the Catalonia region of Spain moves to ban the sport, we can only hope others will follow. About 250,000 bulls are estimated to die each year in the nine countries that allow the sport, with 60,000 of the kills occurring in Spain.
Awareness about the need to protect animal rights has become much stronger across Europe in recent years. Earlier this month the European Union banned seal products in condemnation of Canada’s brutal seal hunt.
For more information about the effort to ban bullfighting, visit the webpage for a Bullfighting-Free Europe.