Barcelona Holds its Very Last Bullfight

Photo: flydime / cc

Centuries after Spanish-style bullfighting first emerged in the Catalonian capital of Barcelona, spear-wielding matadores have proven themselves yet again to be victorious in battle against confused, domesticated bulls -- and for the last time. Over the weekend, the region held its final bullfight before a sold-out crowd numbering near 20,000, with many voicing their disappointment over legislation that will ban the practice outright to go into effect at the start of 2012. Animal rights supporters, on the other hand, laud Catalonia's parliament for being the first in mainland Spain to outlaw what many consider the blatant torture of animals for entertainment.Although many consider bullfighting to be an integral part of Catalonian and Spanish culture -- not to mention a healthy tourist draw -- the regional government voted to ban the bloodsport after 180,000 signatures were collected in petition. Supporters of the ban gathered outside of the final bullfight, held in Barcelona's massive Monumental ring, cheering the finality the occasion marks.

Others, of course, weren't so pleased. A report from Expatica outlines the suspicion of some bullfighting enthusiasts that the move to ban their beloved pastime is actually rooted in a political struggle Catalonians have been enmeshed in against the rest of Spain.

"It has absolutely nothing to do with defending animals, it is a political question," said 20-year-old Alejandro de Benido, who is training to become a matador and who performed at the Monumental last week.

"It was the first time and it will certainly be the last time. I don't understand this idea to ban people from seeing bullfights."

While Catalonia's bullfighting ban may mark the end of a storied tradition of killing bulls for fun, the sport will live on for now in other regions of Spain, France, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru and Venezuela.

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Tags: Animals | Spain