The Catalan parliament recently voted to ban bull fighting in the region. However the decision was as much based on politics and separatism as it was on any concern for the rights of animals and cruelty towards them.
The reaction in the rest of Spain has been to staunchly defend the ‘fiesta nacional’. Yet whilst it might be identified as “national” to the exclusion of Cataluña the true home of the bull fight and the industry that surrounds it is in Andalucía.
Indeed last week the mayor of Ronda, Antonio Marín, asked the Andalucía government to deem the town the centre of studies and investigation of “Tauromaquia”. Ronda’s bullring was founded in 1785 – the oldest in Spain – and the mayor wants his town to have the role to defend “the traditions of Andalucía”.
Hence the decision of Los Verdes to demand that the Andalucía government bans bullfighting will send shock waves through the world of the corrida.
So what are Los Verdes proposing? First they need to collect 25,000 signatures to present to the Andalucía parliament to demand a debate – this must be done within three months. The Catalan parliament required 50,000 but Los Verdes are confident that 25,000 signatures can be obtained easily within the time period.
So what are Los Verdes arguments? Mario Ortega, Los Verdes spokesperson, says the ‘fiesta nacional’ would not survive in Andalucía if it did not receive subventions from the public authorities. He claims bullfighting receives 13 million euros from town halls, 12 million from the regional government, nine million from the various provinces and four million euros from RTVA – the Andalucía broadcaster.
In terms of the environment many argue that without the bull fights the “dehesas” on which the animals are raised would simply cease to exist. Not so says Ortega “only nine per cent of the ‘dehesa’ breed bulls that are for the ‘lidia’” or fighting bulls “and less than five per cent of the bulls that are breed in these spaces go to the plaza de toros”. He claims the majority of farms breed livestock for meat products.
Although this is a Los Verdes initiative the party is appealing to all supporters of the left in Andalucía not to defend the ‘fiesta nacional’ as part of their identity or “the traditions of Andalucía” as Ronda’s mayor would describe it.
It also says that 80 per cent of young people want the “toros” to be abolished... but if that is the case the young may have to wait to they are much older before their aspiration becomes a reality.