AFTER numerous debates, the Catalan parliament has voted to ban bullfighting in the region starting January 1, 2012.
The decision was pushed through with 68 votes in favour, 55 against, and nine abstentions.
After 180,000 citizens signed a People’s Legislative Initiative petition spearheaded by the Plataforma Prou activist group, a parliamentary vote was forced.
Years of heated arguments about whether bullfighting is a barbaric practice or a piece of Spanish cultural heritage have preceded the prohibition.
Many say that the vote is as much about nationalist politics as animal rights, however, and view the move as an assertion of Catalan independence.
Following the Canaries’ ban in 1991, Catalonia is the second autonomous region in Spain to prohibit the traditional practice, which began in earnest in the early 1700s.
There is only one active bullring in Catalonia – the Monumental in Barcelona – and the owner has already said he will be claiming compensation following the vote.