Bullfights return to Spanish TV after six-year ban

Spain's public TV has broadcast a live bullfight for the first time in six years after conservative PM Mariano Rajoy lifted a ban on the tradition.

The fight in the northern city of Valladolid screened on Television Espanola (TVE) on Wednesday 5th September. The previous socialist government cut live transmissions as they were costly and aired in children’s viewing time.

Anti-bullfighting sentiment has been on the rise also however, with Catalonia outlawing the practice in January. Lawmakers in the autonomous region voted for the ban last year – the first in mainland Spain – after 180,000 people signed a petition.

Art form or torture?

But the corrida, as it is known, is still permitted in all other regions of Spain except in the Canary Islands, which banned it in 1991. Pro-bullfighting supporters, who include Mr. Rajoy, say a tradition is an art form deeply rooted in Spanish history. It dates back at least 4,000 years and is thought to have been popularised by the Romans.

TVE’s decision to air a short series of fights in the coming months, at the traditional time of 6 pm, is seen as a big victory for fans of the bloodsport. “The potential audience that might be attracted to this line-up is, in itself, a sufficient reason for broadcasting it,” a spokesman for the station said.

However, opponents argue the practice is barbaric, with the odds heavily stacked against the animals, which suffer unnecessary torment.

Campaigners hope to extend the ban across the country, but they face a tough task in traditional bullfighting heartlands like Andalucia and Madrid.

Animal Equality has long campaigned against bullfighting and cruel fiestas. We urge people not to visit bullfights and other events in Spain that involve the torturing of animals.