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Spanish bullfighting under fire

Ban sought on bullfighting in Spain but tradition of killing runs deep.

Bullfighting is a vital part of the tourist industry. Will a bullfighting ban affect tourism?

First of all, even if it does, it should still be banned. I think Spain should move towards an image that doesn’t support cruelty and suffering of animals. Spain should promote another image: tourism that’s not based on suffering, blood and death. In fact, most tourists are completely misguided about bullfighting. They think it’s a duet between the bull and the matador. We have images of tourists coming out of the bullfighting ring, crying and absolutely shocked because of what they saw. It’s something that’s very difficult to watch and understand if one hasn’t grown up seeing it. Most of the people in Spain who support bullfighting have seen bullfighting all their lives, and that’s how they become unaware of the animal suffering.

What is the current situation of bullfighting in Madrid? Is anti-bullfighting active? Are there possibilities that the administration will ban the tradition any time soon?

Bullfighting is popular here in Madrid, and April to June is the busiest season. And the further south you go, the stronger it gets. Note that popular doesn’t mean a big part of the population supports bullfighting; it just means the bullfighting rings are usually full, whereas in Catalonia bullfighting rings were never full. There are a lot of bullfighting rings in Madrid, the most famous one being Las Ventas. It’s also the most famous in the world. A few others are located in the city center, but keep in mind that villages all around Madrid have bullrings to entertain the villagers. There are also mobile bullrings in the summer, when villagers will bring bullrings to other villages to help celebrate their fiestas when those villages don’t have their own bullfighting rings.

Is the anti-bullfighting movement active in Madrid? Do you think a bullfighting ban is possible in the near future?

Yes. The anti-bullfighting movement that has been active in Catalonia for five to 10 years is spreading to the rest of Spain. So it’s certainly growing here, but I don’t think the government will initiate the ban. In Spain, if you collect certain amount of signatures, you can ask the parliament for a law, or at least ask for the parliament to debate it, which was how Catalonia managed to abolish bullfighting. More than 180,000 people in Catalonia signed the petition that was delivered to parliament.

For more information, go to Igualdad Animal’s website at