Spain abolishes bullfighting award

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Spain has abolished its top national prize for bullfighting, marking a significant cultural shift and sparking intense debate between animal rights advocates and supporters of the centuries-old tradition. Here are the key points:
  • Culture Minister Ernest Urtasun announced on Friday that Spain would scrap the €30,000 ($32,217) annual National Bullfighting Prize, which has previously been awarded to renowned matadors like Julian Lopez, also known as "El Juli".
  • Urtasun, a leftist politician, expressed that a growing majority of Spaniards find it difficult to justify animal cruelty being subsidized with public funds. The move reflects changing attitudes, particularly among younger generations, with only 1.9% of Spain's population attending a bullfight in the 2021-22 season.
  • Animal rights groups like PACMA have called for a total ban on public funding for bullfighting, arguing it cannot be justified under any circumstances. Critics say bulls endure immense pain and fear before an almost certain death.
  • However, the decision has angered bullfighting supporters who view it as an integral part of Spanish heritage. The main opposition conservative Popular Party (PP) has pledged to restore the prize if it regains power.
  • Some prominent figures like former tennis player Garbine Muguruza have expressed sadness at the prize's abolition, appreciating the aesthetics and folklore of bullfighting even if they haven't attended events. Tennis star Carlos Alcaraz faced backlash last year for attending a bullfight.
  • In response, several regional governments have announced plans to establish their own bullfighting prizes. PP spokesperson Borja Semper criticized the move as an affront to cultural diversity and freedom.
The abolition of Spain's national bullfighting prize reflects a growing animal rights movement and generational shift, while also highlighting the ongoing cultural debate over the controversial tradition's place in modern Spanish society.
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