"Outdated and cruel" ... a bullfight this week. Photo: Reuters
BARCELONA: Catalonia's parliament has voted to ban bullfighting in the first such prohibition in mainland Spain.
Regional legislators voted 68 to 55 for the ban yesterday on the grounds of cruelty, the speaker of the assembly said.
The vote on abolishing bullfights in the north-eastern autonomous region follows an intense campaign by animal rights activists to end an ''outdated and cruel'' part of Spanish culture.
Catalan nationalists also seized on it as a means of expressing independence from Madrid at a time of growing political unease between the regional and national governments.
The regional government was moved to propose the vote after 180,000 Catalan citizens signed a petition circulated by Prou! (Enough!), an anti-bullfight group.
Interest in Spain's ''national fiesta'' has waned in the region and dozens of local councils, including Barcelona's, have declared in the past few years that they are officially ''anti-bullfighting''.
The Plaza de Toros Monumental, the last of Barcelona's three bullrings to still stage ''corridas'', struggles to fill a third of its 19,000 seats and often attracts more tourists than locals.
The ban, which will be introduced from 2012, was preceded by furious debate.
In an editorial, the centre-right daily newspaper El Mundo expressed a sentiment echoed in much of Spain - that the move had little to do with animal cruelty but had become a ''political issue'' in a region where the ''idea is to ban everything that is Spanish''.
Telegraph, London; Bloomberg
Now - come on - let's see this ban extended across the rest of Spain!
It's cruel, it's barbaric and does not represent the culture of the modern Spain!
No-one should subject an animal to this much torture and making it a spectator sport is just too ghastly.