As of January 2012 bullfighting will be illegal in Catalonia.
Barcelona, the region's capital, used to have three bullrings. Now it has one, and attendance has been low. Still animal-rights advocates and bullfighting fans both view this ban as an impetus to further outlaw bullfighting in Spain and elsewhere.
"The suffering of animals in the Catalan bullrings has been abolished once and for all[," said Leonardo Anselmi of PROU, an animal-rights group]. "It has created a precedent we hope will be replicated by other democratic Parliaments internationally, in those regions and countries where such cruel bullfights are still allowed."Such regions include parts of South America, Mexico, southern France and Portugal.
Until two weeks ago, I didn't know exactly what bullfighting entailed. It's gruesome.
Lances are driven into the bull's head and neck muscles and are then twisted to ensure a lot of blood loss. Then bright sticks with harpoon points are plunged into his back.
Finally, the matador appears and, after provoking a few exhausted charges from the dying animal, tries to kill the bull with his sword. If he misses, succeeding only in further mutilation, an executioner is called in to stab the exhausted animal to death.This isn't a sport; it's public animal torture.
If the crowd is happy with the matador, the bull's ears and tail are cut off and presented as a gift.
Joan Puigcercos, a Catalan lawmaker, said this about the bullfighting ban: "We have a responsibility that goes beyond the borders of Catalonia. It is a responsibility to civilization."
(Photo courtesy of the World Society for the Protection of Animals.)