THE lack of a bull market in Spain is good news for bulls at least.
The worst economic downturn since the second world war has seen less bulls being killed in the traditional corridas, or bullfights.
With unemployment across the country nearing 18 per cent and consumer spending dropping, many bullfight fans are cutting back on their hobby.
The number of bullfights fell to 1,443 in 2009, from 1,877 the year before — a drop of 23 per cent.
According to figures from the Union of Fighting Bull Breeders, more than 4,000 bulls have been spared a death in the ring.
Instead of being dispatched by the matador, they will be kept on farms around Spain and will probably be slaughtered for food later.
The industry generates 2.5 billion euros a year for Spain’s economy. It receives subsidies from the Spanish government and the EU estimated at 600 million euros and represents about 1.5 per cent of GDP.
However, bull-breeding industry sources say that there has been a downturn not only in the number of bullfights but also in street festivals, in which bulls are customarily tormented by crowds before being killed.
Catalonia recently voted to ban the sport and is now awaiting for the decision to be ratified.