Spain Deals Bullfights Fatal Blow

Spanish television yanks coverage of lethal, decreasingly popular sport
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 6, 2007 8:26 AM CST
Spanish bullfighter Rafael Rubio "Rafaelillo" fights a Miura's bull in the bullring of Pamplona, northern Spain, in this July 8, 2007 file photo. State-run Spanish television has quietly yanked live coverage...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The traditional sport of bullfighting suffered what may prove to be a death blow yesterday, when the Spanish national television network decided not to include coverage in next year's schedule. Traditionalists are up in arms, but animal-rights advocates cheered the decision, which will eliminate the traditional Sunday afternoon broadcast of athletes fighting and eventually slaughtering bulls.

Spanish PM José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero is understood to oppose bullfighting but has never spoken on the issue. His environment minister provoked controversy recently when she suggested that bullfighting continue but without killing the animals. Whether televised or not, bullfighting's popularity is on the wane: Barcelona's last working bullring loses tens of thousands of dollars every time it puts on a fight.