Bullfight cruelty put to the sword in the Balearics!

THE Balearic regional parliament voted on Monday to ban the harming or killing of bulls in the ring, although non-violent bullfights can continue.

The law, backed by a left-wing coalition that includes the Socialists (PSOE), regional group More for Mallorca, and anti-austerity party Podemos, will also see the time limit for bullfights reduced to 10 minutes maximum, with the number of animals taking part limited to three.

The law eliminates the weaponry used by bullfighters, who are also forbidden from injuring the animals in any way. And they are allowed to use the capote and the amulet (traditional coloured capes), but only to create a theatrical pageant for the audience.

In addition, bullfights can be held in permanent arenas only, and the animals, which must be at least four years old, have to be examined by vets before and after the fight to verify their “physical and psychological well-being”.

Both bulls and bullfighters will be tested for drugs, the law setting up regulations for mandatory, on-site medical facilities.

There will also be new regulations for breeders, to ensure they treat and transfer the bulls humanely.

These rules will also prohibit minors under the age of 18 from attending (the previous minimum age was 16), in addition to banning the sale of alcohol at bullrings.

Bullfighting was declared part of Spain’s cultural heritage in national laws introduced in 2013 and 2015, by Mariano Rajoy’s conservative Popular Party (PP) government, but it remains highly controversial.

In 2010, the north-eastern region of Catalonia banned the so-called sport. Yet Spain’s Constitutional Court ruled last year that regional authorities did not have the power to ban the country’s traditional sport, after the Balearic Islands’ parliament followed Catalonia and the Canary Islands in outlawing bullfighting.

Animal welfare campaigners have applauded the Balearics’ side-stepping of Madrid, describing the “creative move” as a way of consigning bullfighting to the history books.

And these new laws could now be copied across Spain’s regional assemblies. An opinion-poll commission in 2013 revealed that just 29% of the country supported bullfighting, while 76% opposed the use of public-funding to support the industry.

Even so, the Balearics’ vote shows that a full ban is not strictly necessary to end the practice of bullfighting.

Humane Society International/Europe said it applauded the decision of the Balearic Islands’ Parliament.

Joanna Swabe, its senior director of public affairs, said: “Taunting and killing bulls for entertainment is a brutal anachronism, 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 ensure, effectively,  that the torture of bulls for public entertainment is relegated to the annals of history on the Balearic Islands.

She added: “This vote shows that a full ban is not strictly necessary to end 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, so this measure to halt both bullfights and bull fiestas enjoys the broad support of both locals and the international community alike.”

Yet Mallorca still has three bullrings: in the capital of Palma and in the popular resort of Alcudia and nearby Muro.

Bullfighting has achieved global headlines this month, adding only to its controversial image as one of Europe’s bloodiest sports.

There were symbolic protests, demonstrators dousing themselves with fake blood at the start of the traditional running-of-the-bulls festival in Pamplona, which saw 12 people gored.

A man was killed in an Alicante bull-run, while well-known Spanish matador Victor Barrio was killed during a televised bullfight in Aragon earlier this month.

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Posted by on Jul 28 2017. Filed under Sport. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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