Catalonia's ban on bullfighting attracts huge international media attention

Prestigious newspapers such as The Times and Le Figaro published the story in their front-page and argued that the decision widens the gap between Spain and Catalonia.

Laura Pous

July 29, 2010 08:33 PM

Barcelona (CNA).- Catalonia has become the centre of attention of the vast majority of international newspapers because of its ban on bullfighting. British newspapers such as The Times and Financial Times and the French newspapers Le Fígaro and Liberátion have published the information about the prohibition on their front-page. The foreign press is arguing that the decision to ban bullfighting in Catalonia is politically motivated, although most of the newspapers are celebrating the measure to stop a spectacle that they consider 'a brutal bloodshed'.

Never before has a law passed in the Catalan Parliament had had such an international repercussion. The legislation that banned bullfighting in Catalonia was passed in a 'tense' environment, according to most of the foreign correspondents. About 300 journalists reported on the vote from Barcelona, several of which were from international news networks.

Most of the international media reports suggest that the bullfighting ban has brought together animal welfare and Catalan identity politics. However, some, such as The Times, go the extra mile, stating that 'politics and statistics have achieved what eluded animal activists and noisy campaigns by foreign celebrities for years'. In a similar stance, Le Fígaro said in its editorial that Catalonia banned bullfighting 'to be different'.

The Guardian published an article with the headline 'Good news for bulls: Barcelona turns its back on the 'horrific, barbarous la corrida'. In the article, the British newspaper states that 'while some mourned the loss of a cultural jewel, the vote was hailed by animal rights campaigners worldwide'. In fact, actors Ricky Gervais and Pamela Anderson supported the popular petition to the Catalan Parliament to ban bullfighting. As them, 140,000 foreign people joined the 180,000 signatures from Catalan citizens to stop the killing of bulls.
The Financial Times wrote in its front-page that the decision to ban bullfighting 'confirms a rising wave of opposition that could lead to a more widespread prohibition' in Spain. In fact, a spokesman for the anti-bullfighting group ‘Prou!’ said that the ban in Catalonia 'has created a precedent' that they 'hope will be replicated by other democratic parliaments internationally'.
The relationship between Spain and Catalonia has been tense in recent weeks, especially after the Spanish Constitutional Court ruled against the Catalan Statute of Autonomy. Bullfighting supporters argue that the ban is 'against Spanish symbols', something that anti-bullfighting activists reject. 'The issue is a moral one, not a nationalist one', said Dr. Salvador Giner, President of the Institut d’Estudis Catalans (the Catalan Science and Humanities Society) in the British newspaper The Guardian.