Catalonia’s bullfighting ban overturned by Spain’s Constitutional Court

Humane Society International/Europe urges politicians to prevent return of cruel bullfights in Catalonia

Humane Society International

  • JL Gutierrez

The Constitutional Court of Spain has overturned Catalonia’s ban on bullfighting that was introduced in 2010 following huge public and Parliament approval. Animal protection organisation Humane Society International/Europe sharply criticized the court’s ruling that the ban is unconstitutional. HSI and animal groups from Catalonia met yesterday with Catalonia’s Minister of Territory and Sustainability, who vowed to resist any return to bullfighting in Catalonia.

Dr. Joanna Swabe, HSI/Europe’s executive director, said: “Taunting and killing bulls for entertainment is a brutal anachronism that the Catalan Parliament quite rightly voted to ban six years ago. For the Constitutional Court to overturn the ban is morally retrograde. This decision flies in the face of the clear wishes of Catalan citizens and politicians who, we are sure, will robustly defend their right to outlaw such animal cruelty. It is deeply worrying that this could potentially leave the door open to a return to bullfighting in Catalonia, which would be a major step backwards at a time when we are seeing increasing opposition, throughout Spain, to bullfighting brutality. Tormenting and stabbing animals to death for entertainment deeply tarnishes the modern image that Spain wishes to promote, and the Court’s ruling will be a major disappointment to both compassionate people in Spain and around the world.”

In 2010, the Catalan Parliament approved a bullfighting ban following a public legislative petition, known in Spain as the Initiative Legislative Popular, or ILP, initiated by the Catalan animal protection platform PROU. At the time, the ILP benefited from the support of more than 180,000 Catalan citizens in favour of ban on bullfighting in Catalonia. Animal advocates from around the world, including Humane Society International, supported the campaign. HSI’s EU director met with the President of the Catalan Parliament shortly before the vote to express international support for the ban.

HSI/Europe urges the Catalan authorities to adopt new regulations that would comply with the ruling and that could ensure that bullfights do not return to Catalonia.

Take action to stop bullfighting.


  • The Constitutional Court of Spain annulled the bullfighting ban in Catalonia claiming the Parliament does not have the autonomous power to ban bullfighting.
  • Catalonia’s bullfighting ban was implemented in 2012 after gaining the Parliament’s approval two years earlier.
  • 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). The poll showed that 76 per cent oppose the use of public funds to support the bullfighting industry.

Media Contacts:
UK: Wendy Higgins, +44 (0)7989 972 423,
US: Raul Arce-Contreras,, +1 301.721.6440

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