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Catalonia becomes second Spanish region to ban bullfighting

July 28, 2010 |  5:58 pm

Anti-bullfighting activists

Animal advocates in the Spanish region of Catalonia and around the world celebrated a decision Wednesday by the regional assembly to outlaw bullfighting there.

The vote brought to a close a long and often contentious debate between pro- and anti-bullfighting factions that began more than a year and a half ago. A group that opposes bullfighting, Prou! (translation: Enough!), circulated a petition with the goal of receiving 50,000 signatures; in the end, it received more than three times that goal.

The ban, which will go into effect in 2012, will cause the few remaining bullfighting rings in the region to close, including one in its capital, Barcelona. Catalonia is the second Spanish region to outlaw bullfights, which have long been decried as cruel by animal advocates. The Canary Islands banned the blood sport in 1991, but Catalonia is the first region on the Spanish mainland to do so.

Supporters of the ban insist their concern is for the welfare of the bulls, which die bloody and violent deaths in the bullfighting ring, but some opponents argue that the move was a political one designed to bolster the Catalan nationalist movement. 

Among those celebrating the ban is the always-entertaining Charo, who said she is "more proud to be Spanish today than on any other day of my life. This shows that the new generation in Spain wants to lose this barbaric tradition." (The star recently teamed with PETA to narrate an anti-bullfighting video, which is available for viewing on PETA's YouTube channel, but is very, very graphic.)

Learn more about the bullfighting ban in Catalonia and its political implications for Spain in reporter Henry Chu's recent story in The Times.

-- Lindsay Barnett

Photo: Animal rights activists celebrate Catalonia's bullfighting ban in Madrid on July 28. Credit: Daniel Ochoa de Olza / Associated Press

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