National Bullfighting Prize abolished by the Spanish government

National Bullfighting Prize abolished by the Spanish government
National Bullfighting Prize abolished by the Spanish government

Spain’s left-wing government announced on Friday the abolition of the national bullfighting prize. This measure, applauded by animal rights activists, irritated bullfight aficionados and the opposition.

“It did not seem relevant to us to maintain a prize which rewards a form of animal abuse” while “a majority of Spaniards (…) are increasingly concerned” about animal welfare, indicated the Minister of Culture, Ernest Urtasun, on the La Sexta television channel.

Keeping this prize would be “all the less understood since these forms of animal torture are rewarded with medals which, moreover, are accompanied by an endowment” financed by “public money”, continued the minister, who is member of the far-left Sumar party.

This prize of 30,000 euros, awarded each year, was awarded for the first time in 2013, after being created in 2011 under another left-wing government. Renowned bullfighters have received it, like Julián López, known as “El Juli”, and Enrique Ponce.

If bullfights continue to attract enthusiasts in Spain, where the main bullfighters are celebrities, opinion surveys show a decline in interest throughout the country, particularly among young people. According to the latest figures from the Ministry of Culture, only 1.9% of Spaniards attended a bullfight during the 2021-2022 season.

“Activity that is part of our culture”

The People’s Party (right, conservative), the main opposition party, promised to reinstate this price if it returned to power. “Bullfighting is an activity which is part of our culture in Spain, which is part of our traditions (…), of our identity as a people”, and the suppression of this prize is proof of the “sectarianism of those who govern us”, criticized, in front of the press, the president of the PP group in the Chamber of Deputies, Miguel Tellado.

Several regional governments have announced they will create their own bullfighting prize, including the socialist-led government of Castile-La Mancha,

The Fighting Bull Foundation (Fundacion del Toro de Lidia), the sector’s main organization, said in a statement that the government “has the obligation to promote and encourage all cultural events, including bullfighting.”

“This measure marks a step in the fight against bullfighting, a controversial practice,” welcomed the animal rights association Animanaturalis.

ats, afp



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