Barcelona May Ban Bullfighting
Catalonia vote pits tradition vs animal rights
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 28, 2010 2:00 AM CDT
Spanish matador Alejandro Talavante makes a pass at the Monumental bullring in Barcelona, Spain.    (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
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(Newser) – Catalonia will vote today on whether to become the first mainland Spanish region to say adios to bullfighting. The spectacle has long been in decline in the region, and the capital, Barcelona, now only holds a dozen or so bullfights a year, with foreign tourists making up much of the audience, the BBC notes. A vote was called on the issue after 180,000 people signed a petition characterizing bullfighting as outdated and barbaric.

Those who oppose the ban, however, say the move is an effort to stamp out symbols of Spanish culture amid resurgent Catalan nationalism. "It is all about nationalism," a lawmaker from the conservative Popular Party tells the Wall Street Journal. "Bullfighting is part of Catalonia's historical and cultural heritage, but Catalan nationalists oppose it because it also is a symbol of Spain."