Spain could be poised to phase out bull fighting under plans supported by the country’s left-wing politicians.
Tens of thousands of bulls die in the ring each year as bold matadors tease and coax the animals while trying to avoid being trampled or injured by their horns.
Children under 16 years of age may be banned from seeing the traditional blood sport under rules proposed in Spain.
Delegates of the fortieth Federal Congress in Valencia next week will examine proposed changes to stop giving money to or promoting bullfighting as part of Spanish culture.
The recommendations vary from banning under-16s from watching the fights to halting the sport completely.
Spanish bullfighter Antonio Ferrera fights a bull during an Autumn Fair bullfight at Las Ventas bullring in Madrid. Children under 16 years of age may be banned from seeing the traditional blood sport under rules proposed in Spain
Since the rise of left-wing parties in Spain bullfighting has been under threat.
Spain’s government is a coalition of the centre-left Socialist party (PSOE) and Unidas Podemos, a left-wing alliance between a number of parties.
Many younger Spanish people, especially those living in cities rather than he countryside, see bullfighting as an outdated practice that perpetuates cruelty to animals for entertainment purposes.
Bullfighting has long been associated with Spanish culture but the country could phase it under plans supported by left-wing politicians, even though the spectacle draws thousands of fans
Banderillero in the fourth bullfighting festival of the fair of San Miguel. Bullfighting businesses were angry the Spanish government left them out of subsidy plans for other cultural activities in next year’s budget
The government notably left bullfighting out of its cultural post-pandemic subsidy plans in the 2022 national budget, announced last week.
The Spanish government will give the half a million Spanish children who turn 18 next year €400 (£340) each to spend on cultural activities.
An activist holds a banner reading ‘Stop Bullfighting’ as people protest against bullfighting at Plaza de la Encarnacion in Seville this September. The rally called for bullfighting to be banned and its public funding stopped
However, they won’t be able to use the money to buy tickets for bullfights.
The goal is to help Spain’s culture-related businesses recover from the loss of revenue because of COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns and is likely to cost the country around €190million (£162million).
The government said eligible teenagers could spend their 400 euros on items such as movie and theatre tickets, books and concerts.
Bullfighting businesses wanted to be included too, and conservative opposition parties attacked the government for leaving them out.
The Fundación Toro de Lidia, which represents the bullfighting sector, complained that Spanish law classifies bullfighting as part of the country’s cultural heritage.
Yet the Culture Ministry said in a written note to state-owned news agency Efe that ‘not everything that our legislation regards as culture will come under this cultural support’.