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Spain's Catalonia on verge of banning bullfighting

media Catalans take to the streets during a protest for greater autonomy for … Reuters

Spain’s northeastern region of Catalonia may ban bullfighting. Its local parliament, comprised of 135 lawmakers, is set to vote on the issue Wednesday morning.

The vote comes after animal rights activists, campaigning under the platform “Prou!” or “Enough!” in the Catalan language, collected 180,000 signatures in the region petitioning for an end to the traditional Spanish pastime.

If approved, Catalonia, home to Spain’s second-largest city of Barcelona, would become the first region in the country outside of the Canary Islands to ban the practice. Bullfighting was made illegal in the Canary Islands in 1991.

While the arguments in support of banning bullfighting focus on the need to protect animal rights, many in the rest of Spain believe that the move is fuelled by some Catalans’ desire to emphasise their distinct identity.

In an editorial published Tuesday, centre-right daily El Mundo wrote that the issue had become a political one, in a region where the “idea is to ban everything that is Spanish”.

The vote comes just one month after Spain’s constitutional court struck down several articles regarding Catalonia’s “statute of autonomy”. The charter, approved by Spain’s national parliament in 2006, had expanded the powers of self-rule of the government of Catalonia, which has its own language and distinct culture.

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