3 May, 2024 @ 10:26
1 min read

Spain cancels this year’s national bullfighting prize that sees a top matador win €30,000: Culture Ministry hopes to eliminate the award for good

July 11, 2023, Pamplona, Navarre, Spain: Peruvian bullfighter Andres Roca Rey during the fifth bullfight at the San Fermin Festival in Pamplona, northern Spain, on July 11, 2023. Revelers from around the world flock to Pamplona each year to take part in eight days of bullfighting. Made famous by American writer Ernest Hemmingway's 1926 novel 'The Sun Also Rises', the annual San Fermin Festival involves the daily running of the bulls through the historic heart of Pamplona to the bullring. (Credit Image: © Ruben Albarran/ZUMA Press Wire)

SPAIN’S Culture Ministry has decided to cancel a national bullfighting prize and is to start the process of eliminating the award for good. 

That’s according to ministry sources, who were speaking to online daily El Diario

The National Bullfighting Prize was created back in 2011, and awards a prize of €30,000 to the winning matador. 

This is considerably more than the amount won by winners of national literature prizes in Spain, who generally receive some €10,000 less. 

Read more: The bullfighting capitals of Spain’s Andalucia – which hosted more than 600 events last year

Bullfighting has been losing popularity in Spain in recent years. (Credit Image: © Ruben Albarran/ZUMA Press Wire)

As well as scrapping the prize this year, the Socialist-led government will also conduct a public survey on the issue, which is the first step to permanently eliminating the award. 

Sources from the Culture Ministry – which is run by the Socialists’ coalition partner, leftist alliance Sumar – told El Diario that the decision to get rid of the award was a ‘faithful reflection of the values and feelings of society’, with a ‘rising’ concern for animal wellbeing. 

“Attendance at bullfighting events is, according to data from the 2021-22 period, at just 1.9% of the population,” the same sources said. 

While events involving bulls remain popular at local fiestas in Spain, enthusiasm for bullfights themselves has been steadily waning. 

According to Culture Ministry figures cited by El Diario, there were 3,651 bullfighting events held in Spain in 2007, while that number had fallen to 1,546 in 2022. Of these just 412 were actual bullfights, while the rest were variations such as rejoneos, which are performed on horseback. 

The last winner of the National Bullfighting Award was Julian Lopez, known as El Juli, who retired from the ring after a 25-year career. 

Simon Hunter

Simon Hunter has been living in Madrid since the year 2000 and has worked as a journalist and translator practically since he arrived. For 16 years he was at the English Edition of Spanish daily EL PAÍS, editing the site from 2014 to 2022, and is currently one of the Spain reporters at The Times. He is also a voice actor, and can be heard telling passengers to "mind the gap" on Spain's AVLO high-speed trains.

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