29 March 2010
A small demonstration of about 1,000 people has taken place in Madrid to call for an end to bullfighting in Spain. Many see bullfighting as extremely cruel, while others see it as an important part of Spanish culture.
Click to hear the report:
Carrying banners reading 'Abolish bullfighting' and comments disparaging bullfighters, the coalition of animal rights activists and ecologists gathered in Madrid's central Puerta del Sol square. The Madrid regional government's decision to officially declare the sport part of Spain's cultural heritage has intensified opposition:
Male protestor (voice of translator):
"I feel very ashamed. I feel ashamed of being Spanish when I hear of these crimes, and people say this torture is culture. For me it is savage, more appropriate to other centuries."
The centuries-old spectacle, whose ritual includes implanting barbed sticks into the bull before a matador kills it with a sword, draws thousands to the country's bullrings and matadors receive celebrity media coverage. Many Spaniards reject accusations of cruelty:
Madrid resident (in Spanish)
This Madrid resident insists those who want to watch bullfighting should be allowed to continue doing so as it's part of the nation's culture.
But support for bullfighting varies across the country, with parliament in the autonomous Catalan region recently debating a possible ban, and a vote there on the issue is expected soon.
In Spain's Canary Islands, the sport is already outlawed.
Sean Fanning, BBC News
Click to hear the vocabulary:
large pieces of cloth or cardboard with signs or messages on them, here, carried by protestors
being critical, scornful, belittling and giving a negative view of
- a coalition
a group of people from different political or social groups, who want to achieve the same goal
people who work to protect the balance between humans, animals and plants, and the place they all live in so that they are not harmed
- the centuries-old spectacle
the unusual or strange public show which is hundreds of years old
stabbing, putting into the body by piercing the skin
- a matador
a bullfighter, a person who fights and kills bulls to entertain people
enclosed areas where bullfighting takes place
politically independent, controls and rules itself, here, rather than being ruled by Spain