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"Of course you realize, dis means war."
July 28, 2010 9:18 PM   Subscribe

Catalonia bans bullfighting. Via The NYTimes "Lawmakers in the northeastern Spanish region of Catalonia voted to ban bullfighting on Wednesday, dealing the most significant blow so far to a tradition considered by many Spaniards to be an essential part of their cultural patrimony. In many ways, however, the ban reflected less on the animal rights than on a political debate over Catalan identity and a push by local parties for greater independence from the rest of Spain. With the strong support of separatist parties, the ban passed by a larger margin than expected: 68 to 55, with 9 abstentions. It is to go into effect in 2012."

"About 13,500 fighting bulls die in Spain every year – many in bullfights funded by local authorities who are estimated to pay out up to €550m (£457m) in subsidies.

In Spain, critics pointed to dark, if barely -disguised, political motives. Bullfight fans claimed many Catalan nationalist deputies had voted out of spite, because the fighting bull is an emblem of Spain – where it is known as the "national fiesta" – rather than of Catalonia." Via The Guardian
posted by Fizz (34 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
well, good.
posted by archivist at 9:24 PM on July 28, 2010


Yup. It's a step. Olay.
posted by Trochanter at 9:31 PM on July 28, 2010


In many ways, however, the ban reflected less on the animal rights than on a political debate over Catalan identity...

I totally believe this, because when I went to a wedding between a Japanese friend and a man from Barcelona that I met for the first time that day, I was fiercely corrected EVERY time I said Spain or Spanish.
posted by planetkyoto at 9:31 PM on July 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


The fighting bull lives a better life than his neutered feed-lot cousins. They are beautiful animals and very tasty. If it weren't for bullfighting, it is likely these majestic animals would now be extinct. Bullfighting is cruel, may a way could be found to preserve fighting stock without the corrida.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 9:39 PM on July 28, 2010


I thought of Catalans trying to distance themselves from "Spain" the minute I saw this story. Perhaps an occupational hazard of studying linguistic nationalism!

While I realize that one cannot rely on graffiti as an accurate gauge of public opinion, I noticed several on the walls in Barcelona which read (in English) "Catalonia is not Spain" when I was on vacation there several years ago.

But as a friend reminded me: It's good that this happened, even if it wasn't (primarily) for humane reasons.
posted by dhens at 9:39 PM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Olé
Olay
posted by sanko at 9:41 PM on July 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


a bit OT:

one of the biggest myths to come out of Europe is the myth of single national identities; especially when applied to the colonizers paid for by the Spanish crown. only a certain social class of spanish-speaking castillians got to get those cushy land grants.

most people had to indenture themselves even as late as the 1890's and not a lot of them were castilian because the poorest people coming into America as indentured servants were coming from non-spanish speaking regions. colonies like Puerto Rico saw more gallegos, vascos, catalanes, canarinos, andaluzes than actual "castizos".

that's why the spanish of each country in Latin America varies radically. it all depends on how many of these non-spanish speaking "spaniards". in the case of Puerto Rico, our spanish is massively peppered with galego and catalá.

now, not everybody from the non-spanish speaking regions was dirt poor. the small business types would get haciendas on the cheap and even slaves of their own. and catalunya has always had a thriving small business culture.

that's why an afroboricua like me has a catalá last name. the colonial criminals hacendados who owned my ancestors were catalanes who came to the island via Canarias.


on that note: i really don't like bullfighting. good for catalunya. i feel their gonna Kosovo (hopefully non-violently) Spain in the next few years.
posted by liza at 9:57 PM on July 28, 2010 [5 favorites]


I would support this ban even if it made everybody's genitals turn inside-out, so good show.
posted by turgid dahlia at 9:59 PM on July 28, 2010


You want to fight a bull? Fine. But you don't get to stab it with spears and barbed rods. You get a knife the length of a bull horn. Have fun.
posted by nestor_makhno at 10:08 PM on July 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


Whenever I think of bullfights, I always think of this incident (warning: graphic) and I do an inner victory dance for the bulls. Unfortunately, the bulls are sent out to fight (read: be killed) the day after taking revenge on idiotic tourists.
posted by dhens at 10:47 PM on July 28, 2010


>You want to fight a bull? Fine. But you don't get to stab it with spears and barbed rods. You get a knife the length of a bull horn. Have fun.

You want this, to the west: the Portuguese bullfight.

In Portugal there is no matador, just the guys at the end of the spectacle taking the bull by the horns. Still an orgy of animal hassling, though (and the bulls, stabbed during the first part, typically are killed as soon as they leave the ring, out of sight).

Me, I'm with Ferdinand.
posted by chavenet at 12:01 AM on July 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


Seeing as how my previous post on bullfighting was deleted owing to a single link to The Big Picture (I felt the images therein were worthy of discussion, even if the mods did not), here it is again.
posted by bwg at 12:03 AM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm also with Ferdinand.
posted by pracowity at 12:41 AM on July 29, 2010


Me, I'm with Ferdinand.

Love that book. One of the first I bought for my daughter; the fact Franco banned it sheds light on the sub-nationalistic arguments discussed here.
posted by rodgerd at 1:05 AM on July 29, 2010


Bullfighting is a Spanish thing not Catalan so no great surprises there. Unfortunately the corrida has had it's day but years ago it was a truly beautiful sport.

"Bullfighting is the only art in which the artist is in danger of death and in which the degree of brilliance in the performance is left to the fighter's honour."

Not a very popular view round here I'm sure but then most of you are from the country that gave the world McDonalds and Disney.
posted by R.Stornoway at 3:12 AM on July 29, 2010


Not a very popular view round here I'm sure but then most of you are from the country that gave the world McDonalds and Disney.

Meanwhile, PETA tries to ban rodeos: "Start a campaign to ban rodeos or certain rodeo events from your community. Click here for a list of local bans on animal acts from across the United States."

Also, PETA dislikes guide dogs for the blind. ETA's Vice President for Cruelty Investigations, Daphna Nachminovitch, said this to the LA Times last year:

"On the other hand, we oppose most seeing-eye-dog programs because the dogs are bred as if there are no equally intelligent dogs literally dying for homes in shelters, they are kept in harnesses almost 24/7, people are prohibited from petting or playing with them and they cannot romp and run and interact with other dogs; and their lives are repeatedly disrupted (they are trained for months in one home and bond, then sent to a second, and after years of bonding with the person they have "served," they are whisked away again because they are old and no longer "useful")."

Are these claims true or not?

Bullfighting is not the same as guide dogs for the blind. But animal welfare is an issue where emotions are sometimes more important than facts.

I will not miss bullfighting in Barcelona. Neither will most people in the area:
"The practice has been waning in popularity here for many years. A mixture of animal rights activism, a ban on child attendance and politics has left ring owners struggling to fill seats. There is just one active bullring now in Barcelona, and an average of 15 fights each year. "
posted by iviken at 3:40 AM on July 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


Maybe the Catalan nationalists will soon be tempted to replace the bulls with some Spanish people.
posted by Termite at 4:35 AM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Not a very popular view round here I'm sure but then most of you are from the country that gave the world McDonalds and Disney.

And you're apparently from the country that gave the world deep-fried Mars bars, the Glasgow smile, glassing people in pubs, and the poetry of William Topaz McGonagall.

Whee! Being relevant is fun!
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 4:52 AM on July 29, 2010 [5 favorites]


McGonagall is under-appreciated.
posted by Astro Zombie at 5:38 AM on July 29, 2010


Everything is under-appreciated, if you pick the right angle to appreciate.
posted by aramaic at 6:04 AM on July 29, 2010


As are deep-fried mars bars.

left to the fighter's honour

Where, exactly, is the honour in this "sport", when the bull is deliberately and bloodily weakened before the matador even sets foot on the sand?
posted by elizardbits at 6:04 AM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, half of my family are Catalan, and this is absolutely an attempt to say "Bullfighting is a Spanish sport, we are not Spanish". Of course there is an element of truth to this, bullfighting has always been much more popular in the south. Secondly Catalunya has seen itself as the most progressive and Eurocentric (as opposed to Hispanocentric) province for quite some time now.
posted by ob at 6:21 AM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Not a very popular view round here I'm sure but then most of you are from the country that gave the world McDonalds and Disney.

tearsoftheeagle.jpg
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 6:30 AM on July 29, 2010


On one hand, good.

On the other hand, at least fighting bulls get half a chance to fuck up one of their human captors/torturers, as opposed to their cousins in the feedlots.

"Bullfighting is the only art in which the artist is in danger of death and in which the degree of brilliance in the performance is left to the fighter's honour."

Pro Wrestling. Mixed martial-arts competition. Knife throwing. Chainsaw juggling.

OK NOW BACK TO THE CORK TREE
posted by jtron at 7:09 AM on July 29, 2010


And you're apparently from the country that gave the world...

None of those things come from R.Stornoway's part of the world. Just as Barcelona isn't "Spanish". The irony is more embarrassing than anything else, but still...
posted by GeckoDundee at 7:22 AM on July 29, 2010


Bullfighting is the only art in which the artist is in danger of death

Senna disagrees.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:58 AM on July 29, 2010


I'm also with Ferdinand.
posted by pracowity at 3:41 AM on July 29


you know you're one vowel away from being eponysterical, right?
posted by liza at 8:19 AM on July 29, 2010


R.Stornoway said
Bullfighting is a Spanish thing not Catalan so no great surprises there.
Lots of gray tones here. Barcelona has a great tradition, with three "plazas" at the end of the XIX century and two for the most part of the XX. Also, the presence of bulls during local "fiestas" is very common in the south of Catalonia (they are called "correbous", similar to San Fermines but more creative, like putting the bull's horns on fire.

I am a Catalan (and Spanish, btw), and I am against bullfighting, and I am sad that the "correbous" are still legal in Catalonia. On the other hand, I don't like prohibitions, at least in Catalonia it would have sufficed with denying any form of public aid to bullfighting (I think the same with the monarchy, must be paid by their supportes).

Also, although it is true that there are lots of Catalonia vs Spain identity issues here, for me it is the worst part of the matter, as this is going to be used as a political weapon by both parties, and the real isssue, animal rights and ethics, is going to be forgotten soon.
posted by samelborp at 8:20 AM on July 29, 2010


what samelborp said. Let's make it a debate on animal rights on the whole.

Anyway, in Spain most people don't give a damn about bullfighting, but feel that a ban is a bit too much. It can also be counterproductive, since bad publicity is publicity after all. Sometimes it's better to be pragmatic and let the thing die by itself, out of lack of interest by the general public. We'll see if there's a renewed interest in bullfighting after the ban. Let's hope not!
posted by valdesm at 8:46 AM on July 29, 2010


As GeckoDundee points out Mr Bad Example, eponysterical. As a Gael I have absolutely no connection to your references. In much the same way as Basques and Catalans set themselves apart, we have a very distinct identity, language and culture from our "fellow countrymen". But why bother with the little, inconvenient, details...monoculturalism all round right?!
posted by R.Stornoway at 10:26 AM on July 29, 2010


I'd point out that both McDonald's and Disney were founded over 1500 miles from where I grew up (i.e., the distance from you to Serbia) and I'm not connected with either. Annoying to be associated with distasteful cultural exports based on an accident of geography, isn't it?
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 10:35 AM on July 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


I like that bullfights give a food animal a (slender) chance at survival and prosperity into old age, where otherwise food animals are given no chance at all. None.
It doesn't happen often, but it happens more often than for the food animals in countries without the bullfight.
posted by -harlequin- at 11:24 AM on July 29, 2010


Huzzah. Who cares why they did it as long as they do it.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:47 AM on July 29, 2010


Bull jumps out of ring into stands: Forty injured after animal leaps over barriers and tramples spectators in northern Spain
posted by homunculus at 10:14 AM on August 19, 2010


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