Spanish Senate declares bullfighting to be cultural patrimony


MADRID, Nov. 7 — The Spanish Senate has declared that the tradition of bullfighting as Cultural Patrimony of Spain in an act which has highlighted the deep divisions of opinion over the practice.
The decision to declare bullfighting part of Spain’s cultural patrimony came as the result of a petition signed by 600,000 citizens. Spain has a total population of around 47 million.
The first ever legal recognition of what is sometimes referred to as the ‘national party’ was passed with 144 votes in favor, 26 against and 54 abstentions and will serve to place some form of legal regularization on the practice.
A typical bullfight follows a traditional pattern. First the bullfighter receives the fighting bull with a large purple and yellow cape, allowing the bull to make a series of passes before the ‘picador’ enters the arena.
Mounted on a heavy horse, which in modern times is protected along its flanks, the picador carries a heavy lance and when the bull is invited to charge his horse, he plunges the lance into the bull’s neck. This begins the process of weakening the animal through muscle damage and loss of blood.
Next into the arena are the ‘banderilleros’ who carry a pair of short spears, each just over a meter in length. They invite the charge of the bull and as they avoid the animal they stab these into the animal’s neck. Three banderilleros face each bull, which ends with six spears sticking out of its back.
The final stage of a bullfight sees the matador with a red cape perform a series of passes with the animal before killing it with by piercing it through the heart with a steel sword. Unfortunately most matadors fail to kill the bull at the first attempt and on many occasions the animal has to be finished off with a short knife thrust through the back of the neck to sever its spinal cord.
Speaking in favor of the law, the senator of the ruling Popular Party(PP), Sebastian Ruiz described bullfighting as “a national and popular art-form for excellence and a basis for the development of Spanish society.” The PP were the strongest supporters of the law and Ruiz said the economic impact of bullfighting was to “generate employment and wealth while being synonymous with biodiversity and ecology.”
The Socialists (PSOE) mainly abstained from a vote which they considered to be “unnecessary,” and which ran the risk of causing “confrontation between Spanish people,” while the smaller opposition groups were almost all opposed.
The Izquierda Unida senator, Jose Enrique Iglesias said the decision harked back to the times of the dictator General Franco, adding Spain risked provoking international outrage if they tried to ask UNESCO to also declare bullfighting a cultural patrimony.
Bullfighting was recently banned in the region of Catalonia and the member of Catalan nationalist party ERC, Ester Capella I Farre said bullfighting was a “practice in decadence, which turns us into a backward and savage society and does a lot of damage to Spain’s image abroad.”
“Europeans see bullfighting with the same eyes as us when we see images of stonings from Africa,” she highlighted.
The Canary Islands have not seen a bullfight for 35 years and the representative from the Canary Island Coalition, Narvay Quintero highlighted bullfighting was forbidden there, adding it was “neither a profitable nor a cultural practice.”[db:内容2]