Ricky Gervais has added his voice to the anti-bullfighting campaign as the world waits for Catalonia’s vote on a bullfighting ban.
“It sickens me to know that in this day and age, people are still paying money to see an animal suffering in such a horrific way,” Gervais said in a film made exclusively for WSPA and urged animal welfare supporters to put pressure on Catalonian MPs as they prepare to vote on a proposal to ban bullfighting.
“We want them to know that there are thousands of people all around the world who care which way they vote, and are hoping to see them put an end to this cruel ‘sport’,” Gervais said.
All eyes on Catalonia
Currently, Catalan animal protection laws protect all animals except the bulls and horses used in bullfights. But with over 180,000 Catalonian citizens signing a petition demanding an end to bullfighting, the Catalonian regional parliament was forced to call for a vote on the ban.
Tension has been rising since a close vote in December 2009 saw 67 Catalonian MPs vote in favour of discussing the ban in parliament, with 59 votes against the proposal. Next month’s vote will make or break the ban.
Campaigners meet Catalonian President
Animal welfare campaigners met President Ernest Benach last week to remind him that thousands of people around the world want Catalonia to end the cruelty of bullfighting and vote for the ban.
Helen Martinez, Programmes Officer at WSPA Central America, joined campaigners from Comite Anti Stierenvechten International and Humane Society International to talk to the President. They gave him an open letter signed by 32 anti-bullfighting groups from around the world, as well as a dossier of international press cuttings about the bullfighting ban.
When asked what effect a rejection of the ban would have on Catalonia’s reputation, President Benach said it could have negative implications for the region.
He added that he hoped to have the final vote before the summer holidays.
“We wanted to remind Benach and his colleagues that the world will be watching them when they decide whether or not to end the cruelty and lead Spain into the 21st century,” said Martinez.
“We got a warm welcome and he was very happy with our letter,” she added.
Catalonian citizens reject bullfights
Recent polls have shown 80 per cent of Catalonia’s 7 million citizens have no interest in bullfighting, and only one fifth of the seats at Barcelona’s bullring were occupied at the start of this bullfighting season. Yet a small minority argue that the cruel and inhumane tradition should be kept alive.
One hundred bulls are slaughtered in the ring in Catalonia each year, dying a slow, painful and terrifying death.
As Ricky Gervais describes it, “The bull is stabbed for around 15 minutes by a variety of spears, spikes and daggers.
“After that you would think that death would be a sweet release. But many bulls die slowly and painfully, as the matador’s death blow often pierces the lungs instead of the heart, and the bulls are left drowning in their own blood.
Cultural heritage is no excuse for inflicting such pain on a frightened and confused animal,” Gervais concluded.
In the last two years, local authorities in many parts of Catalonia, including Barcelona, have declared their support for the ban, along with many other towns and regions across Europe and Latin America that have declared themselves anti-bullfighting.
A ban in Catalonia could set the precedent for similar parliamentary processes elsewhere in the world, towards eradicating this cruel sport worldwide – sign the petition now to tell Catalonian MPs that you want to see an end to this cruelty.