On the evening of September 25, amid the cheers of fans and the bloody death throes of fighting bulls, Barcelona hosted its last-ever bullfight. It was the end of more than 600 years of history.
As dusk fell in the Catalan capital, sequin-clad matador Serafín Marín killed the last of six bulls on the sand of the packed La Monumental bullring, where tickets were going for eight times their original price.
Bullfighting Banned In Catalonia
As Care2′s Alicia Graef wrote here, the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) joined forces with a local Catalan group PROU, which presented over 180,000 signatures triggering Catalonia’s Parliament to vote on the matter last year. This year they brought a letter with 165,000 signatures from 120 countries in support of the ban to Ernest Benach, President of the Catalonian Parliament, before the vote.
Spanish lawmakers voted 68 to 55, with nine abstaining, to ban the “sport” from the region of Catalonia, making it the first ban in mainland Spain. A Care2 petition in support of the ban gathered 35,660 signatures.
From The Guardian:
Supporters denounced the ban as an infringement of civil liberties. Opponents declared it an enlightened move away from mindless barbarity.
“We have won the war, but today we will lose a battle as six animals will die,” said a 32-year-old protester who gave only her first name, Montserrat. “They are pigs,” said Antonio, 70, an elegant white-suited fan, pointing to the small crowd of animal rights protesters gathered outside La Monumental.
Either way, it was a historic moment. An 18,000-strong crowd packed into the stands to watch the matadors in their shiny “suits of lights” step out for the last time to the sound of trumpets and a band playing pasodoble tunes.
Although bullfighting has been on the decline in Catalonia for decades, Barcelona once hosted major fights.
In a indication of the dwindling local popularity of the event, architect Richard Rogers has already turned the city’s other major bullring, Las Arenas, into a shopping mall.
Bullfighting Wildly Popular In The South Of Spain
However, Catalonia does not reflect other parts of Spain. Staying with a family in Cadiz, in southwest Spain, this summer, I got into a major argument with my hosts on this topic. Bullfighting there is still very popular, and as far as my host “father” was concerned, it is a beautiful sport, part of the Spanish tradition, and it will live forever.
Far from being a beautiful part of Spanish culture, bullfighting is a cruel bloodsport and should be banned.
Photo Credit: Sarah_Ackerman