Spain Abolishes Bullfighting Award Amid Animal Welfare Concerns

Spain has abolished its national bullfighting award, citing growing concerns about animal welfare among the Spanish population. The move has sparked debate, with conservative parties and bullfighting supporters arguing it disregards Spain's cultural heritage.

Safak Costu
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Spain Abolishes Bullfighting Award Amid Animal Welfare Concerns

Spain Abolishes Bullfighting Award Amid Animal Welfare Concerns

In a significant cultural shift, Spain has scrapped its annual national award for bullfighting, citing growing concerns about animal welfare among the Spanish population. The decision, announced by Culture Minister Ernest Urtasun, marks a major victory for animal rights activists who have long condemned the centuries-old tradition as cruel and inhumane.

Why this matters: This move reflects a broader shift in societal values, where animal welfare is increasingly becoming a priority, and could pave the way for similar changes in other countries with similar traditions. As attitudes towards animal welfare continue to evolve, governments and institutions will be forced to re-examine their stance on practices that involve animal cruelty.

The €30,000 ($32,217) national award, established in 2011, has been granted to top matadors such as Enrique Ponce and Julian Lopez in recent years. However, Urtasun stated that "a growing majority" of Spaniards are concerned about animal welfare, so "we did not believe it is appropriate to maintain an award that rewards a form of animal abuse." scrap, national, ca

The move has sparked a debate from conservative parties and bullfighting supporters, who argue that the tradition is an integral part of Spain's cultural heritage. The main opposition Popular Party (PP) has vowed to reinstate the prize if it returns to power, accusing the government of disregarding the country's identity. Several regional governments, including one run by the Socialists in Castilla-La Mancha, have announced plans to create their own bullfighting awards to fill the void left by the national award's abolition.

Despite its passionate following in some circles, bullfighting's popularity has been waning in Spain. According to the culture ministry, only 1.9% of the population attended a bullfight during the 2021-22 season, down from 8% in 2018-19. A 2021 survey found that 44.1% of Spaniards favor prohibiting the practice, while 34.7% support it.

This article states that animal rights groups have applauded the government's decision, with the Animal Rights Party (PACMA) hailing it as a "positive step" towards the "total abolition" of all forms of public support for bullfighting. Aida Gascon of AnimaNaturalis stated, "Cruelty to animals should not receive prizes. Bullfighting does not do any more than to perpetuate the perverse idea that animals exist for our use and pleasure."

Theabolition of the national bullfighting awardreflects a broader societal shift in Spain, as traditions evolve and animal welfare concerns take center stage. While the practice remains legal and protected as part of the country's cultural heritage, the government's decision sends a strong message about the changing attitudes towards bullfighting. As journalist Pedro Rodriguez noted,"traditions evolve, and this is a reflection of society, because there is a majority that does not view animal abuse favorably and is increasingly more aware of their well-being."

Key Takeaways

  • Spain abolishes national bullfighting award due to growing animal welfare concerns.
  • The €30,000 award was established in 2011 and rewarded top matadors.
  • Only 1.9% of Spaniards attended a bullfight in 2021-22, down from 8% in 2018-19.
  • 44.1% of Spaniards favor prohibiting bullfighting, while 34.7% support it.
  • Animal rights groups hail the decision as a step towards abolishing public support for bullfighting.