Catalan lawmakers have voted to ban
bullfighting across the north eastern region striking a blow to aficionados of
the most emblematic and controversial Spanish tradition.
The Parliament of Catalonia voted
68 in favour and 55 against with nine abstentions to abolish bullfighting on
the grounds of animal cruelty ushering in the first outlawing of the tradition
on mainland Spain.
The law will take effect on 1
The vote followed months of
impassioned debate over the subject of bullfighting that pitted animal rights
activists against the supporters of what is known as Spain’s “national fiesta”.
Campaigners against the “cruel and
unnecessary spectacle” hailed the result as a “historic victory” and one that
they hoped would be taken up across other regions of Spain.
”The suffering of animals in
Catalan bullrings has been abolished once and for all. It has created a
precedent we hope will be replicated in other democratic parliaments, in those
regions and countries where such cruel bullfights are still allowed,” said Deborah
Parris, a spokesman for anti-bullfighting group Prou! – meaning Enough!
The Catalan regional government was
moved to propose the vote after 180,000 citizens signed a petition circulated
by the anti-bullfighting group. Interest in bullfighting has been on the wane
in the region and only one of Barcelona’s three bullrings still stages corridas
although it struggles to fill the seats.
Those who work in the bullfighting
industry have warned that they face losses of $519 million and have said they
could sue the Catalan government for denying them a means to earn a living.