Bullfighting Ends Today in Barcelona
Catalonia ban comes after years of decline for blood-filled tradition
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 25, 2011 6:46 AM CDT
A general view of the 'La Monumental' bullfighting arena in Barcelona, on September 23, 2011. September 25th 2011 will mark the end of bullfighting in the Catalan region as the combat has been officially...   (Getty Images)
camera-icon View 6 more images

(Newser) – Today's bullfights at the 97-year-old Plaza de Toros Monumental arena in Barcelona will be the last ever for the venerable—and brutal—sport in Catalonia province, reports the BBC. The province voted to end bullfighting last year, the first ban on the corrida de toros in mainland Spain (it's been banned on the Canary Islands since 1991). "This is such a beautiful arena, with a lot of tradition both for bullfighters and this national celebration," said one matador.

Although attendance for bullfighting has been poor for many years, tickets to the last matches at the 20,000-seat Monumental sold out quickly, and have been selling for five times their original value on black markets. The ban came partly from Catalonians' desire to distinguish themselves from the rest of Spain and partly because of declining interest, but animal rights groups say they hope to extend their campaign to the rest of the country.