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BULLFIGHTING

Education Ministry plans to offer vocational course in bullfighting

Draft training program would teach history of tauromachy and techniques for the bullring

Two students practicing at the Madrid bullfighting school.
Two students practicing at the Madrid bullfighting school.

The Spanish Education Ministry is working on a new vocational education program that will train students in the techniques of bullfighting and other related skills.

The draft plan, to which EL PAÍS has had access, still needs to be discussed between the ministry and regional governments.

Preliminary coursework includes learning the history of bullfighting, practicing key torero moves, and preparing studs for breeding.

Tauromachy is an artistic manifestation with no ideological ties, which is part of traditional and popular culture”

Draft of new tauromachy school program

“What we should be doing is helping students complete their basic education, but instead [the government] wants to turn them into bullfighter’s assistants,” said Irene Rigau, the Catalan education chief, in an interview on Catalunya Ràdio last week.

Rigau was the only regional representative to reveal the central government’s plans. Catalonia’s nationalist government is one of two regions in Spain that have banned bullfighting.

The draft project sets out 2,000 hours of training for students who enroll in the vocational course after completing their elementary education. Graduates could go on to become banderilleros (who stab the bull in the ring with barbed sticks), picadores (who spear the bull from horseback), novilleros (junior bullfighters who are only allowed to kill young bulls), or shepherds.

“Tauromachy [the art of bullfighting] is an artistic manifestation with no ideological ties, which is part of traditional and popular culture,” reads the draft. “The future of tauromachy is tied to its consideration as an essential part of the Historical, Artistic, Cultural and Ethnographic Heritage of Spain.”

The decision to create this degree comes after new leftist governments in the Balearics and Valencia said they are thinking about following in the footsteps of Catalonia and the Canaries, which have banned bullfighting.

In September, the new lefist government in the city of Madrid also announced that it was canceling an annual subsidy of €61,000 for the local bullfighting school Marcial Lalanda.

The center-right government of Mariano Rajoy, of the Popular Party (PP), has been supportive of bullfighting, which is traditionally a vote-winner among conservatives. Rajoy is facing a tough battle for re-election at the general elections of December 20.

English version by Susana Urra.