Bullfighting in Barcelona ends with Catalonia ban


Supporters for and against the ban clashed in Barcelona after the fight

Related Stories

Bullfighting fans in Catalonia have seen the last fights before a ban on the age-old tradition comes into effect in Spain's north-eastern region.

About 20,000 spectators filled Barcelona's famous Monumental arena, where top matadors performed.

Lawmakers voted for the ban last year - the first in mainland Spain - after 180,000 people signed a petition.

They say the bullfighting is barbaric, but opponents say they will challenge the ban in Spain's top court.

Sell-out show

Start Quote

For a city like Barcelona to close this arena is like throwing a Picasso painting into the garbage”

End Quote Critobal Corrida fan

The ban takes effect on 1 January, but Sunday's fights in Catalonia were the last events of the 2011 season.

Spain's top three matadors performed at the arena on Sunday, including legendary Jose Tomas.

They killed six half-tonne bulls to loud shouts of "Ole!" of the fans.

After the last animal was killed, the crowd carried the three matadors on their shoulders out of the arena to the applause of onlookers.

"For a city like Barcelona to close this arena is like throwing a Picasso painting into the garbage," Cristobal, one of the fans at the Monumental, was quoted as saying by the AFP news agency.

Tickets for the historic bullfights in Barcelona sold out at record speed. They were trading on the black market for up to five times their original value, the BBC's Sarah Rainsford in Spain reports.

Many corrida (bullfighting) fans protested outside the arena, carrying posters which read "RIP" in blood-red letters and blowing whistles.


  • Those taking part in the a bullfight are called toreros, while the person in charge of killing the bull is the matador de toros - killer of bulls
  • Fighters can be awarded the bull's ears, tail or hooves as a trophy
  • Barcelona's last bullring, the Monumental, stages 15 fights each year - each contest involves about six bulls
  • Author Ernest Hemingway was an admirer of Spanish bullfighting and wrote about its rituals in 1932 in Death in the Afternoon
  • The tradition dates back at least 4,000 years and is thought to have been popularised by the Romans
  • It remains popular in southern France, Portugal and some South American countries

But such large crowds have been rare at the Barcelona bullring for some time, and this dwindling support is one reason the regional parliament voted in favour of banning the corrida, our correspondent adds.

She adds that there is also a growing awareness of animal rights and, crucially, the desire of Catalan nationalists to distinguish the region from the rest of Spain and its traditions.

Bullfighting is permitted in all other regions of Spain except in the Canary Islands, which banned it in 1991.

Campaigners hope to extend the ban across the country, but they face a far tougher task in traditional bullfighting heartlands like Andalucia and Madrid, our correspondent says.

She says many people there dismiss all talk of cruelty and argue that the corrida is an age-old art form that must be protected and preserved.


More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 36.

    In my opinion there is nothing wrong with bullfighting as long as the bulls are not killed at the end of it, which to me is the barbaric part.
    Anyone brave enough to confront a raging bull with a red rag has to be entertainment for the masses, so if they are fool enough who are we to stop them ? Else we might as well stop all dangerous sports or entertainments of which there are many.

  • rate this

    Comment number 35.

    I am a vegetarian, not out of sentimentality, but out of a mixture of political, economic and health reasons. Indeed I buy leather goods. My thoughts about blood sports have always been mixed.

    However, I believe that violence also does considerable harm to the perpetrator, especially when it is carried out just for fun. Blood sports brutalise the individual and society promoting further violence.

  • Comment number 34.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 33.

    I have a dream:

    Yes! Sorry! Toro instead of toto! Thanks for correcting.. I'm either because Catalonia is in Spain. (unfortunately)

  • rate this

    Comment number 32.

    How any sane individual can think that cruelty to any animal for entertainment, fun or pleasure is acceptable baffles me. Bravo for this move - whatever the motivation. There is power to stop all cruelty, but somehow, some strange minds lack the will. What country exists that has a clear conscience? Shame on us all.

  • rate this

    Comment number 31.

    Santi: You tell me not to be ridiculous. I don't think I've made a single ridiculous comment today, tho I've read a lot. What have I said that was ridiculous?

    DiddyWahDiddy: I hope you weren't including me among your anti-ban people 'with Spanish' names. 'Tamburello' is an Italian word and I was born and bred in South London...

  • rate this

    Comment number 30.

    I am an animal lover, and a very peaceful man, and I terribly dislike fighting. It is not an immediate death that the bulls go through in a bullfight, but just like us, where we may fall terminally ill and can spend years of suffering until we die, the same happens to animals.

  • rate this

    Comment number 29.

    I live in Catalonia, and "Spanish arrogance" has everything to do with it. Bullfighting is a symbol of Spain, and Catalonia does not want to be a part of Spain. Without Catalonia,s economic power Spain would be nothing, so there are sly political games bieng played here with subtle mesages bieng sent to Madrid.

  • rate this

    Comment number 28.

    19. moncursouthernreiver

    "Another sad example of Mankind pretending that we are much more than the animals that we are."

    In that case the whole of civilisation is a denial of our animal nature. Without this 'denial' we would still be disparate groups of hunter-gatherers fighting over local resources.

    Fact is we are diferent than most other animals with our ability to conceptualise and moralise.

  • rate this

    Comment number 27.

    14.Tamburello - You say bull-fighting isn't supposed to be fair. Many bull-fighters have claimed that it is. (If it isn't fair it's rather nasty, isn't it?) So you are now in the position of the hunting lobby in the UK who claim that hunting foxes keeps the population of foxes down, while claiming that they don't catch very many.

  • rate this

    Comment number 26.

    Animal cruelty or what? I thought we Europeans were a civilised lot - OK, so we had fox hunting...we are now plagued with foxes...but bull fighting...could we ever justify such killing? Can't imagine many bulls on the loose. (they don't usually climb up stairs). But the spearing of bulls in Tordesillas...now that really is barbarism. And to think they voted it back after 1999...retrograde step?

  • rate this

    Comment number 25.

    And instead of a fighting death in a bull ring after half a decade of free-range life on one of the great Spanish estates, they will be neutered to increase fat and flavour and shoofted off to the slaughterhouse, aged between 3 and 20 months, to have their heads shoved in a restrainer while they are stunned, then hung upside down, throats cut, to die by exsanguination. Well done, Catalonia.

  • rate this

    Comment number 24.

    The killing and taunting of animals who have no choice just for "sport" and entertainment can never be justified.

  • rate this

    Comment number 23.

    About time.

  • rate this

    Comment number 22.

    Santi, you say "Proud to be Catalan...not Spanish"...are you either?

    Don't you mean "toro de la vega" instead of "toto"? If it's a typo I apologise.

  • rate this

    Comment number 21.

    This world is becoming a limp wristed place were men are not allowed to be men.
    Boxing is looked down upon, and the animal rights groups are trying to ban horse racing and fishing. Soon we will only be allowed non contact sports like tennis.

  • rate this

    Comment number 20.

    I too applaud Catalonia.Regardless of the reasons behind the decision it simply means an end to this barbaric event.Bull fighting,dancing bears,cock/dog fighting,captive dolphins,whatever event involves animals being abused and hurt for our 'pleasure' cannot be acceptable in 21st century society.Not all traditions are worth or worthy of saving.Now the rest of Spain must move with the times.

  • rate this

    Comment number 19.

    Another sad example of Mankind pretending that we are much more than the animals that we are. 2000 years ago the Christ figure gave a clear and definitive blueprint for a " Better " man and we have slaughtered several hundred million of ourselves since! The hunting sabs, the rediculous Veggy crews, the capital punishment abolitionists, pro-lifers, vile SHAC and STOP THE WAR! idiots are in denial.

  • rate this

    Comment number 18.

    Sadly (and disgustingly), Tamburello is probably right, but a step forward is a step forward and must be applauded. Obviously, all forms af animal abuse must be stopped, from speeding cars killing wild animals to the existance of slaughter houses. There is work to do.

  • rate this

    Comment number 17.

    10.bigbadbuddha - Who are we to comment? Probably the same people who send out aid worldwide, provide financial assistance abroad when we have no money left, and who currently have an unsolved murder of a child in London which many of African descent claim will have been a traditional sacrificial offering. Playing the "tradition" card with no other argument just doesn't wash any more.


Page 11 of 12


More Europe stories



Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.