Spanish Balearic Islands votes to eliminate bullfighting

Humane Society International

  • It will now almost be impossible to hold bullfights in the Balearic Islands. HSI

The Parliament of the Balearic Islands has voted in favour of legislative measures to make it impossible to hold bullfights or bull fiestas in this autonomous community. This legislation comes in lieu of an explicit ban because the Spanish Constitutional Court has previously ruled that regions do not have the autonomous power to ban bullfighting. Nonetheless determined to ensure this blood-sport cannot take place, the Parliament today introduced measures that in effect make bullfighting and cruel fiestas unviable, such as banning the use of sharp implements, limiting bulls to just 10 minutes in the ring and banning bull slaughter.  

Humane Society International/Europe applauds the Balearic Islands Parliament’s decision. Joanna Swabe, HSI/Europe’s senior director of public affairs, said: “Taunting and killing bulls for entertainment is a brutal anachronism and so this is a very satisfying victory for compassionate policy making. Rather than allow the Constitutional Court ruling to stand in the way of ending the cruel spectacle of bullfighting in the region, a cross-party group of politicians got creative to effectively ensure that the torture of bulls for public entertainment is relegated to the annals of history on the Balearic Islands. This vote shows that a full ban is not strictly necessary to end the practice of bullfighting, and that compassion can win the day where there is strong public and political will to end animal cruelty. Around 30 towns across the Balearic Islands had already voiced their opposition to bullfighting and so this measure to halt both bullfights and bull fiestas enjoys the broad support of both locals and the international community alike.”

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  • The measures voted through by the Balearic Parliament include 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 bull 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.
  • 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  that the regions do not have the autonomous power to prohibit bullfighting.
  • HSI supports the Mallorca Without Blood initiative, led by AnimaNaturalis and CAS International, which aims to end bullfighting in the Balearic Islands.
  • An opinion poll of Spanish citizens commissioned by HSI in 2013 showed that only 29 per cent of the population support bullfighting (just 13 per cent support it strongly). Seventy-six per cent oppose the use of public funds to support the bullfighting industry.

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