Animal rights campaigners are making themselves increasingly heard in Spain with many activists now convinced that Bullfighting will have completely disappeared in the country within the next few years.
And it's not only because of the cruelty that the activity is losing support; there are economic reasons too for the predictions that it is a dying sport.
In recent weeks the new leftist mayor of the northwestern city of A Coruna withdrew 50,000 euros in bullfight subsidies whilst vowing to find a better way to spend it and then days later Julian Bolanos, the mayor of Villafranca de los Caballero, a central Spanish town of around 5,000 inhabitants, announced that he was taking the 18,000 euros of public funding for bullfights to invest in textbooks and other educational material.
Now seen as a luxury in times of economic hardship, nearly every town and city in the country once had a traditional fixture in it's summer festival but now, following local and regional elections last May, there have been at least 24 ruling, pro-bullfighting council's which have been ousted from town halls and regional governments across the country and replaced by leftist coalitions that are questioning funding for bullfights.
Just a few weeks ago The Leader reported on the port city of Alicante, which is pushing for a referendum on removing bull events as part of town festivals.
In Madrid, the world's bullfighting capital, new leftist Mayor Manuela Carmena is studying withdrawing subsidies and declaring the capital an animal-friendly city. That move has already been taken by Palma de Mallorca in the Balearic Islands, also administered by a new left-wing mayor.
The major city of Valencia, also has a new leftist town hall team that has axed bullfight subsidies, while nearly a dozen other towns in the region are calling for the sport to be banned.
Following ten deaths during the summer season, one of the deadliest ever for the sport, the alternative ‘passtime' of Bull Running, is also coming under increasing pressure to rein in its activities.
This year's toll matches the record of ten deaths in bull runs set in 2009. Just two weeks ago four men died in a single weekend after being gored by half-tonne fighting bulls in four different towns.
However one supporter of Bull Running, Jorge Rosco, a 37-year-old gas distributor who takes part in 25-30 bull runs across the country every year, said the problem is that bull runs had become too crowded with many reckless participants. "People don't respect the bull, they take pictures, they provoke the bulls. It is not a game, they are animals that kill, you have to run with your head, conscious of what you are doing."
But the sport is still supported by the people at the very top of the Spanish cultural system with the Basque city of San Sebastian, which under a new conservative mayor recently reintroducing bullfighting, ending a two-year ban by the former leftist town hall. The first bullfight was attended by former King Juan Carlos and other members of the Royal family with the former monarch calling for bullfighting to be defended, saying it "is an asset for Spain that we must support," presumably in much the same sort of way that he also supports expensive hunting trips to Botswana, where he champions the killing of wild elephants, while ordinary Spaniards cope with harsh austerity, recession and soaring unemployment.
Filed under: http://www.theleader.info/article/48211/
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