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Barcelona May Ban Bullfighting

by Sherry Morse

Public opinion in Barcelona has turned against the ancient sport of bullfighting; there is now talk of a ban on bullfighting by the city council.

Talk of the ban has been ongoing in the parliament of Catalonia, the region of Spain that includes Barcelona, as well.

The parliament has already prohibited children under fourteen from attending bullfights, and several towns in the region have halted bullfights as well.

Opponents of bullfighting say that the slaughter of over 100 bulls each year for public entertainment is incompatible with Barcelona's ambition to become one of the world's leading centers of arts and culture.

Animal welfare groups, including the World Society for the Protection of Animals and the Associacion Defensa Derechos Animal, would like to see the sport banned by the end of this year to avoid tainting the Universal Forum of Culture festival, which Barcelona will be hosting in 2004.

The festival will focus on cultural diversity, sustainable development and peace.

The two groups hope to add culture without cruelty to those themes.

One Barcelona politician, who supports the ban, said, "We are forging our own, distinctly Catalan identity based not on the outdated public slaughter of animals but on the arts, music and architecture."

But not everyone displayed such an enlightened attitude. German Jimenez of the Catalan Bullfighting Federation stated, "Bullfighting is an art form and a vital part of our history and culture."

Jimenez predicted that thousands of bullfighting supporters would protest if a ban was brought up for a vote by the city council. Only four bullrings exist in Catalonia, with just one of those being in Barcelona.

2003 Animal News Center, Inc.

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