Brussels – Bullfighting has returned to the Balearic Islands in Spain. The cruel spectacle, held at Mallorca’s Coliseo Balear on Friday 9th August, came in the wake of a Spanish Constitutional Court ruling that struck down legislative measures adopted by the autonomous community’s Parliament in July 2017.
Rather than explicitly banning bullfighting, the proposed amendments to the existing Balearic Islands’ Animal Protection Law introduced regulatory measures such as banning the use of sharp implements, limiting bulls to just 10 minutes in the ring and banning bull slaughter. Lawmakers adopted this strategy, which would make it more or less impossible to hold bullfights, after the 2010 Catalan bullfighting ban was annulled by a Spanish Constitutional Court ruling, which stipulated that regions do not have the autonomous power to ban bullfighting.
Humane Society International/Europe’s executive director, Ruud Tombrock, issued the following statement condemning the resumption of bullfighting in Mallorca:
“It is reprehensible that this much-disdained bloodsport is making a return to Mallorca after a two-year absence. The decision to revive the torment of bulls for public entertainment flies in the face of public opinion. It is an insult to both the Parliament of the Balearic Islands and the majority of this autonomous community’s population who strongly oppose bullfighting and did their utmost to end this anachronism. Spaniards are increasingly turning their backs on bullfighting, but – despite diminishing audiences and a decreasing number of bullfights being held – a powerful political elite doggedly continues to shore up this bloodsport by casting it as part of the country’s intangible cultural heritage.”
- An opinion poll of Spanish citizens commissioned by HSI in 2013 showed that only 29% of Spain’s population support bullfighting (just 13% support it strongly). A total of 76% oppose the use of public funds to support the bullfighting industry.
- In February 2016, the Balearic Islands Parliament voted in favour of a proposal to ban bullfighting and bull fiestas, which would have revised the Balearic Islands’ Animal Protection Law 1/1992 and made the Balearics the third Spanish autonomous community to ban bullfighting, after the Canary Islands and Catalonia. However, the bill came to a standstill in October 2016 when the Spanish Constitutional Court overturned Catalonia’s 2010 bullfighting ban and declared that the regions do not have the autonomous power to prohibit bullfighting.
- In July 2017, Balearic Islands Parliament voted for legislative measures that included restrictions on the transport, origin, age and weight of bulls; a requirement for veterinary inspections; a ban on the use of sharp implements; a limit of 10 minutes of bulls ‘performing’ in the ring; a ban on the slaughter of bulls or their return to their ranch of origin afterwards; a ban on the use of horses at bullfighting events, and a ban on alcohol consumption at the events.
- HSI supported the Mallorca Without Blood initiative, led by AnimaNaturalis and CAS International, which aimed to end bullfighting in the Balearic Islands, and was present at the Balearic Islands Parliament vote in July 2017.