Catalonia makes history by banning bullfights

The bloody reality of a bullfight, Catalonia

The bloody reality of a bullfight, Catalonia

WSPA is celebrating with Catalonian citizens today, as the Parliament votes in favour of a ban on bullfighting. The ban is a tremendous victory for the thousands of Catalonia’s citizens who took this issue to parliament, and an inspiration for the international campaign against the cruelty of bullfighting, as the Catalonian ban sets a strong example for the rest of the world to follow.

Catalonia has made history today: the Catalonian Parliament has voted to approve the amendment of the current animal protection legislation and therefore ban bullfighting within the region. The ban will come into effect on January 1st, 2012. Bulls will no longer suffer a slow, painful and terrifying death in Catalonia’s bullrings.

A campaign against cruelty

Today’s vote is the culmination of years of hard work and campaigning by animal welfare groups all over the world. Local joint Platform PROU has campaigned tirelessly for months to end the cruelty suffered by bulls in bullrings each year. Prou initiated the campaign that popular legislative initiative that set the process in motion was brought before Parliament in December 2009 after more than 180,000 Catalonian citizens signed a petition demanding an end to bullfighting.

Today, 68 Catalonian MPs voted in favour, whilst 55 voted against the ban (there were 12 abstentions), showing that a significant number of MPs agreed with their citizens, that this ‘traditional’ practice was ready to be relegated to Catalonia’s past.

At a press conference following the results of the debate and the vote in the Parliament, spokespeople from PROU stated that “today has been the day we were hoping for: the suffering of animals in the Catalan bullrings has been abolished once and for all and by an absolute majority.”


“Catalonia is leading the way for bullfighting countries around the world to embrace a modern culture without cruelty,” said Dirk Jan Verdonk, Programmes Manager at WSPA. “The vote today is a political acknowledgement that the people of Catalonia are ready for change and by voting as they did, Catalonia’s politicians have demonstrated their respect for the people’s desire to see bullfighting laid to rest.”

International support for Catalonia

WSPA campaigners hold up a banner outside the Catalonian parliament, as a reminder that thousands of people worldwide support a Catalonian ban on bullfighting

WSPA campaigners hold up a banner outside the Catalonian parliament, as a reminder that thousands of people worldwide support a Catalonian ban on bullfighting

© WSPA/Ed Bayer

Since the first vote that started this process in December 2009, WSPA has been collecting signatures from our supporters worldwide, resulting in the collection of over 85,000 signatures in support of Catalonia’s campaign to ban bullfighting. Ever since, pressure has been intensifying with an additional 25,000 supporters following Ricky Gervais’ appeal to his fans, asking them to support our campaign to urge a ban on bullfighting in Catalonia.

In the last 24 hours of our campaign alone, an additional 25,000 signatures were collected, and on the 26th of July, WSPA representatives met with Ernest Benach, President of Catalonia’s parliament, to highlight how many people around the world are interested in seeing this ban in place.

More and more communities are banning bullfighting

A bullfighting ban in Catalonia is in keeping with an emerging trend, as more and more local authorities from around the world are outlawing this practice. Within Spain, the Canary Islands have already banned bullfighting, as have cities in Ecuador, Venezuela, France, Portugal and Colombia. The ban in Catalonia will set an example in Spain for other regions to follow and make the cruelty of bullfighting history.

Click here for further information on WSPA work on bullfighting worldwide.

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