Barcelona, Spain – What has been touted as an animal protection victory in Catalonia, a group of anti-bullfighting activists celebrated the last of the bullfights yesterday during the final event of the season. In July 2010, Catalonia’s Parliament banned bullfighting after a successful campaign by animal rights activists Prou! (Catalonia for “Enough”) presented the government with 180,000 signatures demanding an end to the brutal and inhumane sport.
Toreros Serafin Marin, Jose Tomas, and Juan Mora each killed two bulls yesterday at La Monumental ring, the last of the three bullfighting rings left in the city. The popularity of bullfighting has decreased in recent decades; fans have rarely filled more than one-third of the seats.
Yesteday however, La Monumental which was built in 1915 and the scene of thousands of bulls being killed through the years was filled to the brims with nearly 20,000 spectators. One report stated that eight bullfighters died at La Monumental ring during its bullfighting history.Tickets to the last bullfight were sold out within hours, and collectors were buying any souvenirs they could find as a remembrance of the final event.
Even though the ban doesn’t take effect until January 1, yesterday was the last fight of the scheduled season. It was a contentious scene with citizens who deemed the sport as part of their cultural heritage and where bulls were used to test bravery versus animal activists who state the sport is nothing more than barbaric animal cruelty.
Supporters of bullfighting argue that the ban was not about protecting the bulls, but more of a political statement from Catalonia politicians wanting to ban bullfighting only as a way to prove their independence from Madrid.
According to the Humane Society International, 250,000 bulls are repeatedly stabbed and killed every year in bullfights in Portugal, southern France, Columbia, Venezuela, Peru, Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, and Bolivia.
Frightened and disoriented, the bulls are tormented to make them angry. The animals are stabbed with spears, spikes and daggers; the blood loss weakens them. After approximately 15 minutes of intense suffering the matador stabs the bull with his sword, but if the matador misses the animal’s heart and stabs him in the lungs, the bull will languish in pain as he drowns in his own blood and is fully conscious as he is stabbed in the spinal cord and dragged out of the ring. Very few bulls ever survive the ring, but if they do, they are never used again allegedly because bulls have excellent memories.
The sport is so gruesome it is banned on television.
La Monumental may be turned into an indoor market, an upscale apartment development or a mosque. One of the other rings is now a shopping mall.
In May, 2011, voters in Ecuador ended their 500-year tradition of bullfighting. The sport was brought to Latin America by Spanish conquistadors.
Pro-bullfighting supporters say it is all an attack on their personal liberties and vow to bring it back, while anti-bullfighting activists plan to continue their campaign to end bullfighting in other regions of Spain, Madrid, Pamplona, and Seville.
Until then the famous toreros will have to be content with six pairs of bull ears – the celebrated trophies awarded to them for killing the bulls.