Ban the bulls?

This morning I was sitting down to write today's post, about La Pantoja, Julian Muñoz, and the endless saga that continues to grip the nation (Did she launder her then-boyfriend's ill-gotten gains? Was she involved in the illegal building permits corruption scandal? And, most importantly, will the adored copla singer end up in prison?), especially Andalucia, when I realised that there's a much more important issue for me to bring to your attention. After bullfighting was banned in Catalonia back in July, the same motion has been put forward to the Andalucian parliament by an organisation called CIMA (Comision Investigadora del Maltrato Animal). This group has been given four months to collect at least 75,000 signatures (to give you an idea, Estepona's population is 65,000) from the voting public in Andalucia, calling for la corrida to be banned. If the designated tally is reached, then Parliament will have two weeks to either accept or reject the bill. And this in Andalucia, the cradle, the heartland of the sport, art, or however you wish to term it. Home to many of the greatest bullfighters ever (Curro Romero, Fran Rivera, Jesulin) and some of the most important templos - Sevilla and Ronda, it is part of every tourist's image of the region, whatever their own personal viewpoint. When I spoke to CEMA's chairwoman this morning, she was spitting with rage that certain major (left-wing) political parties (the PP is against the ban, obviously, and the Greens are delighted that "civilised society will lead the proposal to abolish violence against bulls in Andalucia") are "too scared" to back the ban in parliament. "It's shameful," she told me. It's obviously a political hot potato of the most scalding kind - noone wants catch it, and everybody's hiding so there's no chance of coming into contact of any kind whatsoever. The right-wing press is dismissing the whole topic out of hand, terming it "futile". Whatever the outcome, you have to admire someone on a mission like she is - passionate, committed and determined to achieve her goal. I wish her the best of luck. What more is there to say, that I haven't said already onthe subject. It's simple, really: 1) I hate bullfighting, and 2) I would love to see it banned. I think the problem that CIMA will find, is that many Andalucians don't feel strongly either way, and probably couldn't be bothered to exert themselves enough to actually sign a petition to ban it. I found some characteristically hilarious "reasons in favour of bullfighting" on a website: "Bullfighting is a show of appreciation and respect for the animal." (Brave bull, clever bull, dead bull.) "Bullfighting isn't a sport, but a blend of art, dance and show of virility/machismo." (Why not just tap your feet rhythmically, while wearing an open shirt showing a hairy chest, with a big gold medallion?) "A bullfight is useful for unloading negative and aggressive feelings, which is healthy." (Punchbag? Wii? Game of five-a-side? Nah, doesn't work for me. Got to kill a five-ton beast, slowly and painfully.) And my favourite, which introduces that ever-present element of religion into the mix: "Bulls are an almost religious symbol of the fight between good and evil. The bull represents the evil." (Out, damn demon! I'll jab you with lances to make you bleed, then stab you through the heart!) So look out for people collecting signatures in towns and cities all over Andalucia over the next few months, as well as popular marches and demonstrations. You never know, they might actually succeed.
Blog published on 16 September 2010