THE Balearic Islands voted on Monday to pass a law that forbids both the death of the bull or any bloodshed in bullfights.
A traditional bullfight sees six bulls killed in a bullring by being stabbed by a matador’s sword through the back, after the animals have previously been weakened in a ritual which sees them first stabbed in the shoulders by a picador’s lance and then to have six short spears (‘bandelleras’) stuck into their back.
The new law forbids the bull’s death in the bullring, as well as any physical or psychological damage, forbidding the use of ‘bandelleras, lances, knives or swords,’ while limiting the time a bull is in the ring to a maximum of ten minutes after which ‘it will be returned to the corral.’
Under the Balearics new law, the bull will be submitted for a medical check-up after the fight and then returned to the ranch from where it was raised.
The new law was passed with the approval of the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE), left wing party Podemos and regional party Mes Mallorca, but was opposed by the right-wing People’s Party and centre-right formation Ciudadanos.
The minimum age for attending a bullfight was also raised from 16 to 18 under the new law.
Bullfighting has already been banned completely in the Catalan region in northeast Spain and in the Canary Islands and is generally seen as losing popularity among the younger generation of Spaniards.
Nevertheless, it is still the subject of bitter debate among those who view it as a Spanish cultural tradition and those who consider it a cruel aberration which has no place in a modern nation.