Historic Vote to Ban BullfightingPosted by Lisa Franzetta, ALDF's Director of Communications on July 28th, 2010
Today, the Spanish region of Catalonia voted to ban bullfighting, a cruel blood “sport” long entrenched in Spanish culture. The ban—the first-ever in mainland Spain—passed with a vote of 68 to 55, and will go into effect in January 2012. It’s an incredible victory for animals and for the dedicated activists and legislators in Spain who have tirelessly contended for many years that la tortura no es arte ni cultura—the fact that bullfighting has a long cultural history in Spain does not excuse the barbaric cruelty to bulls who are tortured and die incredibly painful, slow deaths in bullfighting rings.
As the New York Times reports, the historic vote comes at a time when bullfighting’s popularity is waning.
The decline is particularly sharp in Catalonia, home to some of the country’s first bullfighting societies and some of the country’s leading bullfighters. The main city, Barcelona, once operated three bullrings to cater to a fanatic public. Now, there is now just one bullring, La Monumental, which attracts as few as 400 season ticket holders.Prior to today’s vote, PROU! (Enough!), a coalition of Spanish animal protection groups, collected 180,000 signatures in support of their proposal to modify Catalonia’s Animal Protection Law to ban bullfighting. The Animal Legal Defense Fund lent our support by asking the 1,700 members of our own network of legal professionals across the U.S. to endorse their campaign, which was also endorsed by research scientists, psychologists, criminologists, and human-service professionals concerned about the link between violence toward animals and violence toward humans.
Today’s vote is an inspiring example of legislators rejecting outdated cultural mores and pushing laws forward to reflect a more modern understanding of our duty to protect animals from suffering. As the Times story further reports,
“This is not an attack against Spain but evidence that we, Catalans, support and share more advanced values with the rest of Europe,” said Josep Rull, a lawmaker from Convergence and Union, a Catalan party. “We can be proud to have demonstrated today that Catalonia has a more dignified and respectful society that believes in eliminating the torture and suffering of animals.”Even though you likely don’t speak Catalan, no translation is necessary to appreciate the joy of activists in this video of the moment of the vote.