Bullfighting Banned in Catalonia
It's official, the 'sport' of bullfighting has been banned in Catalonia following a vote by the Catalan parliament. Animal activists bought the issue to the parliament's agenda, with a petition signed by 180,000, calling for a ban in the Spanish tradition on the grounds of animal cruelty. The parliament voted 68 in favour of a ban, 55 against with nine abstaining.
Although the victory is seen as a huge victory for animal rights activists, there may have been political motivations behind the voting. Nothing encapsulates the spirit of Spain more than the tradition of bullfighting, immortalised by likes of Hemmingway in his novel Death in the Afternoon; and, by banning the practice, Catalans are further distancing themselves from their Spanish cousins as they continue to bid for complete independence. The ban takes effect from January 2012.
Of all the books glamourising the sport of bullfighting, none are better than Vincente Ibanez's Blood and Sand. But despite the author's apparent love of the romantic life of a bullfighter the closing stanza of his masterpiece leaves you in no doubt of opinions of the spectacle and the mob who watch it...
"He thought of the bull, being dragged out of the ring at this moment, its neck burnt and bloody, its leg stiff and its glassy eyes gazing unseeingly at the blue sky. Then he thought of his friend lying dead only a few feet away... motionless also, with stiffening limbs, his shirt pulled up over his chest, his stomach ripped open, and a strange leaden light in the eyes glimpsed under the half-closed lids.
Poor bull! Poor matador! Suddenly from the ring came a savage roar of delight, greeting the start of the next phase in the spectacle. El Nacional closed his eyes and clenched his fists.
It was the roaring of the only real beast."