Monday, October 3, 2011

Barcelona says adios to bullfighting

Centuries of toreador history recently ended in Barcelona, when Spain's northeast region of Catalonia held its last bullfight after voting to stop the practice. But the bullfighting ban in fiercely independent Catalonia remains controversial.

Some critics charge that the move—the second in Spain, after the Canary Islands outlawed the fights in 1991—was tied more to Catalan nationalism than concern for animal rights. Throughout Spain, the younger generation calls it murder, but still sees matadors as icons and related events like "bull running" still draw thousands of tourists.

Bullfighting is also popular in southern France, Mexico (one Mexico City ring seats 48,000 people) and some South American countries, including Colombia and Peru. In Ecuador, voters approved a controversial May referendum to outlaw the spectacles, though the ban has not yet been put into effect.

Even in Spain, the number of fights has fallen by a third over the past three years as the residential construction bubble burst and Spanish town halls, which funded many fights, lost income from building licenses.

Should bull fighting be universally banned around the world?

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