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Bullfighting

Spain’s Balearic Islands to approve bloodless bullfights

New law will forbid killing or injuring of bulls and impose strict rules on breeders and venues

Palma de Mallorca

The Balearic regional parliament is expected on Monday to vote in favor of a new law that bans the harming or killing of bulls in the ring. The law, which is backed by a left-wing coalition that includes the Socialists (PSOE), regional group More for Mallorca and the anti-austerity party Podemos, will also see the time limit for bullfights set at 10 minutes and the number of animals taking part limited to three.

Matador Paco Ureña slaughters a bull in the ring.
Matador Paco Ureña slaughters a bull in the ring. EFE

Additionally, the law eliminates the weaponry that bullfighters use in the ring. Prohibited from injuring the animals in any capacity, they are only permitted to use the capote and the muleta (traditional colored capes) to create a theatrical display for the audience.

Under the law, participating bulls will have to be examined to ensure their physical and psychological well-being

Under the new rules, bullfights can only be held in permanent arenas and the participating animals have to be at least four years old and certified by veterinarian examinations before and after the fight to verify their “physical and psychological well-being.” Both bulls and bullfighters will also be forced to undergo drug tests.

The law sets new regulations for the mandatory on-site medical facilities, as well as regulations on breeders to ensure that they treat and transfer the bulls in a humane manner. New rules will also prohibit minors under the age of 18 from attending (previously the minimum age was 16) in addition to prohibiting the sale of alcohol on the premises of fights.

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

In 2010, the northeastern region of Catalonia banned the practice but in 2016 Spain’s Constitutional Court overturned the prohibition citing these heritage laws.

English version by Henry Hahn.

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