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Last Updated: Friday, 26 March, 2004, 12:56 GMT
Barcelona bid to end bullfighting
A bullfighter is gored by a bull
Bullfighting is more popular in the southern region of Andalusia
Animal rights campaigners in Spain are hoping to see an end to bullfighting in the Catalan city of Barcelona.

The city's authorities are discussing whether to take a vote on the issue after a 245,000-signature petition.

Deputy Mayor Jordi Portabella has backed the campaign for the city to declare itself anti-bullfighting.

A city council spokesman, who said most Catalans were more interested in football and basketball, said there was the "possibility" of a successful vote.

The next council meeting is on 6 April. If the motion is put forward, it would be the first time the city council had voted on the issue.

Animal rights

The petition was organised by the World Society for the Protection of Animals' (WSPA) and Asociacion Defensa Derechos Animal (ADDA) as part of their support of their "Culture Without Cruelty" campaign to end bullfighting throughout Catalonia.

Receiving the petition in front of a crowd of about 500 people on Thursday, Mr Portabella said: "The capital of Catalonia, Barcelona, must act like a capital and be a pioneer in the abolition of bullfighting.

The signatures were collected in Barcelona and outside Spain.

We have a saying in Spain that it is curiosity that kills the bulls - people going to bullfights just to see what it is like
Leah Garces,
"We need to demystify bullfights and end these type of celebrations."

Mr Portabella added that "it was not a question of confrontation between Spain and Catalonia but of respecting animal's rights".

About 100 bulls are killed each year in bullfights in Barcelona's only working bull ring, La Monumental, watched mainly by curious tourists.

The city council spokesman told BBC News Online said there has not been a large bullfighting following in the region since the 1960s, especially compared with cities such as Madrid or Seville.

He said no decision had been made, but politicians from all parties were discussing the issue.


A recent poll of 800 people in the city, carried out by Demoscopia last year, suggested 63% did not want bullfights in Barcelona, with 55% agreeing that Barcelona should declare itself an anti-bullfighting city.

WSPA's head of campaigns Leah Garces, said: "Barcelona is sure to be the first major city in Spain to declare itself an anti-bullfight city.

"This is the first time it has been within our sights. We hadn't expected the deputy mayor to come out, but he not only came out, he was saying positive anti-bullfighting remarks."

She said she hoped Barcelona would have the courage to take the step, which could then encourage others to follow suit.

Carmen Mendez, ADDA President, added: "There is no justification for the continuation of bullfighting in a place that wishes to be seen as a modern cultural city."

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