Catalonia bullfighting ban is about politics, not animal cruelty

An anti-bullfighting poster in Spain

The Catalonia bullfighting ban is seen more as a political statement of Catalan separatism than a vote against animal cruelty. blmurch/Flickr photo.

Bullfighting is to Spain what baseball is to America. Yet bullfighting was banned in the Spanish province of Catalonia July 28. The Catalan bullfighting ban takes effect in 2012 in this northeastern coastal region of Spain. Animal rights activists cheered when the Catalonian parliament in Barcelona passed a resolution banning bullfighting. But people close to the story said the bullfighting ban wasn’t about animal cruelty. It was a political act of Catalan nationalism as the province tries to set itself apart from the rest of Spain.

Catalonia bullfighting ban not about the bulls

The Catalonia bullfighting ban appears to be more about politics than animal cruelty. NPR reports that Catalonia has only one bullring and about 15 bullfights a year. Anti-bullfighting activists denounced the longtime Spanish custom as cruel, while supporters insisted ending it will damage Spanish culture. Some Catalonians calling for even greater independence from Spain say the bullfighting ban shows they’re willing to break from Spanish tradition. The bullfighting ban in and around Barcelona is expected to have little effect on the suffering of the bulls. About 1,000 bullfights take place in Spain every year.

Anti-bullfighting drives a wedge between Catalonia and Madrid

Bullfighting fans and Spanish conservatives have taken the Catalonia bullfighting ban very seriously. The Associated Press reports that the center-right Popular Party, which vigorously supports a unified Spain run from Madrid, sees a stinging anti-Spanish rebuke in the grass roots, anti-bullfighting drive which started in the region last year. Catalonia is a wealthy and powerful province with its own language (Catalan) and culture, as well as a strong penchant for self-rule. Many in Spain have seen the pressure here for a bullfighting ban as a political statement by Catalonia to stand out from the rest of the country.

Bullfighting ban is rebellion for rebellion’s sake

The Catalonia bullfighting ban indeed has nothing to do with sympathy for the bulls bleeding to death in the bullring, according to Spanish travel blogger Damian Corrigan. Writing for, Corrigan said Catalonia’s self-indulgent struggle for independence is illogical and irrelevant in today’s Europe. The political separatist movement blurs causes like anti-bullfighting to the point where Catalonians appear to stand for nothing else but less taxes going to Madrid. Coherent political stances are optional and rebellion exists simply for the sake of rebellion.

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