Live bullfights return to Spanish TV after six-year ban

Spanish matador Leandro Marcos Vicente performs a pass during a bullfight at the Malagueta Bullring in Malaga, on 13 August, 2012 New conservative PM Mariano Rajoy is a fan of the corrida, as bullfighting is known

Related Stories

Spain's public TV has broadcast a live bullfight for the first time in six years after conservative PM Mariano Rajoy lifted a ban on the tradition.

The fight in the northern city of Valladolid screened on Television Espanola (TVE) on Wednesday evening.

The previous socialist government cut live transmissions as they were costly and aired in children's viewing time.

Anti-bullfighting sentiment has been on the rise, with Catalonia outlawing the practice in January.

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

Art form or torture?

But the corrida, as it is known, is still permitted in all other regions of Spain except in the Canary Islands, which banned it in 1991.

Pro-bullfighting supporters, who include Mr Rajoy, say the tradition is an art form deep rooted in Spanish history.

It dates back at least 4,000 years and is thought to have been popularised by the Romans.


For those who never have watched a bullfight on TV, and might never want to, the coverage is in some ways similar to the way any TV channel would cover a football match.

In the crowd, there were people of different ages, including elegantly-dressed young women. However the vast majority of tonight's audience would vote for Spain's ruling centre-right, and crucially the pro-bullfighting Popular Party.

The party's election last December, and the subsequent, more recent change of management at Spain's public broadcaster paved the way for the return of bullfighting to TVE.

For those cheering in the stadium, waving their white scarves in approval after the first kill, it is a risk-ridden sport and the ultimate act of bravado.

For others in Spain and abroad it is simply cruel.

TVE's decision to air a short series of fights in the coming months, at the traditional time of 6pm, is seen as a big victory for fans of the bloodsport.

"The potential audience that might be attracted to this line-up is, in itself, a sufficient reason for broadcasting it," a spokesman for the station said.

Many in Mr Rajoy's centre-right People's Party will be pleased about the news, says the BBC's Tom Burridge in Madrid.

The party supports bullfighting and has opposed previous calls to ban the sport.

When the party swept to power in December, it approved a new management team for Spain's national broadcaster, our correspondent said.

This in turn has paved the way for bullfighting to make a comeback to public TV.

However opponents argue the practice is barbaric, with the odds heavily stacked against the animals, which suffer unnecessary torment.

Campaigners hope to extend the ban across the country, but they face a tough task in traditional bullfighting heartlands like Andalucia and Madrid.


More on This Story

Related Stories


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 46.

    Killing animals for *sport* no longer has a place in our society. It is time to move with our time. All animal cruelty has to stop. Killing for the sake of it is an abuse of power.

  • rate this

    Comment number 45.

    Loved that comment about preferring to see a matador gored to death than a bull killed. Now that really is sick. I'm out of this discussion before the animal rights fanatics come after me with a gun! May the holders of these unbalanced, culturally insensitive comments stay away from my region of Spain. Don't diss a culture just because it's not yours, unless it involves murdering/torturing humans.

  • rate this

    Comment number 44.

    @ 43.Diana_France. Please let me know what have you began to understand when watched the bullfightings?

  • rate this

    Comment number 43.

    Always stood up for animals and thought of bullfighting horrified me until I watched on Spanish TV. Yes, bull gets exhausted and killed, but not always, there seemed to be respect for the animal, its strength, intelligence. Initially shocked when bull was killed, forced myself to watch couple more fights and began to understand. Abbatoir far less fair. Wouldn't go to bullring live, though.

  • rate this

    Comment number 42.

    I cannot imagine anything more barbaric than bullfighting, it is on a par with the dark world of dog fighting. How can any person bait and maim an animal, fish or bird and others take pleasure in watching is quite beyond me, it is sickening. If any of us are to protest to the Spanish Government, then we must also look at our own behaviour regarding hunting for "pleasure" and "sport" .

  • rate this

    Comment number 41.

    Stop drugging the bull!!. Get rid of the bullfighters army of helpers who slowly torture the animal before the big brave "matador" goes in for the kill.!! Stop starving it before the fight to weaken it!!!!!And don't kill it !!! Then people can claim it is an art form and not animal abuse.
    Says a lot about the Spanish that it is televised again......sick people !!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 40.

    re38 peepsaltea

    did you see the slaughter of a bull?

  • rate this

    Comment number 39.

    Disgusted, !!!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 38.

    I wonder how many of the commentators here have actually been to a bullfight? Oh but that would be too....... & so the excuses dressed as reasons spill out.
    We went with an open mind last year, it was totally fascinating. Not the blood and gore (that's not me), but the total theatre , music & ballet of the whole thing. A good matador finished in 12 mins, if not the crowd would boo & remonstrate.

  • rate this

    Comment number 37.

    Thin ice, Juan.
    Wafer thin...

  • rate this

    Comment number 36.

    Let it continue as long as appropriate measures are taken to help protect any individuals involved.

    It's far too easy for people to try to define the life that others should be allowed to live, and its unfair.

    Personally I don't enjoy bullfighting, but I've no right to tell others they shouldn't be able too.

  • rate this

    Comment number 35.

    I'm unsure what's worse - a declsion to screen bullfighting; or the thought of people turning on their TVs specifically to watch it. "oh but it's tradition" is a pathetic argument, as is "who are we to tell Spain how to behave". When something's as big an affront to civilised behaviour as bullfighting, we ALL have the right - duty even - to condemn it in the strongest terms. ¡Qué vergüenza!

  • rate this

    Comment number 34.

    The majority of these views posted are culturally ignorant of (some of) Spanish culture. To ban bullfights = extinction of fighting bulls, which live happy lives while bred, free to roam and organically fed. Same argument applies to all meat we eat, so are we all vegetarians now? And Spain is a deeply civilized country in term of treatment of its elderly and family, so no cultural fascism, please!

  • rate this

    Comment number 33.

    Hello from Spain
    The bulls are treated better than many western nations treat humans on terrorism watch.
    You don't like, you don't pay to watch. No-one watch, no more bull fights. Personally I think watching and thereby funding a bull fight is as classless as watching an overpaid English football team.
    My own preference is to watch cheer leaders.

  • rate this

    Comment number 32.

    So this barbaric throwback is "an art form" and a time honoured tradition, etc., besides which - more importantly - there are good ratings in it. Shame on everyone involved in this hideous, filthy spectacle.

    But it's hard to see how meat-eaters can complain too much. Death and misery for their preference of the palate, rather than simply for their visual entertainment.

  • rate this

    Comment number 31.

    4 is right .In a civilised world this sort of thing should have stopped.Its as bad as the unspeakable in full pursuit of the uneatable..just moronic

  • rate this

    Comment number 30.

    In a bullfight, the bull at least has a chance to live if he performs well, and live out the rest of his happy life in a stud farm.
    For the millions of bulls sent through industrial-scale slaughterhouses there is zero chance of survival and 100% probability of ending as someone's dinner.

  • rate this

    Comment number 29.

    Another welcome distraction for Rajoy the fascist

  • rate this

    Comment number 28.

    One can only hope OIPA - International Organization for Animal Protection, will act quickly to protect & defend the animal rights of these poor bulls. OIPA is associated with UN Department of Public Information.
    Bull-fighting, along with other cruel "entertainment" like bear-baiting, & dog fighting, are barbaric.

  • rate this

    Comment number 27.

    How about spicing it up for both parties? A few mines and a couple of Indianna Jones traps hidden about the ring should do it!


Page 4 of 6


More Europe stories



BBC © 2014 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.