Feature

Spain: Ban on bullfights is political

Catalonia’s campaign against bullfights is part of a “much broader strategy of trying to sever any link with the Spanish,” said an editorial in ABC.

EditorialABC

Catalonia’s recent banning of bullfighting has nothing to do with animal rights, said ABC. The Catalan lawmakers have no particular sympathy for fighting bulls—which, after all, lead far longer and happier lives than beef cattle. No, the ban is just an example of “opportunistic nationalism.”

Catalan nationalists have long seen their region as separate from the rest of Spain—they speak a different language and emphasize the separateness of their culture. Banning bullfighting is a way for them to “attack cultural practices that are common throughout the rest of Spain.” In their campaign against bullfights, they sought to portray the tradition as synonymous with Spanish identity and in opposition to Catalan identity. It’s part of a “much broader strategy of trying to sever any link with the Spanish.”

Of course, it’s simply not true that bullfighting is inherently Castilian and not Catalan. Ethnic Catalans who live in France, for example, are avid fans of the bullfight. But when did politicians ever care about truth when there were cheap political points to be scored? The sad thing is, the Catalan people allowed themselves to be swayed by their leaders’ nationalistic rhetoric. They failed to stand up for “individual liberty and cultural tradition” and have now lost “a piece of their common history with Spain.”

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