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Home / Green light for start of citizens’ initiative against cultural heritage status bullfighting

Green light for start of citizens’ initiative against cultural heritage status bullfighting


Spain’s Congress has given green light to start collecting signatures for the citizens’ initiative aimed to repeal the law declaring bullfighting as cultural heritage. Over the next nine months, 500,000 signatures must be collected for the congress to consider the citizens’ initiative. Because of this law, bullfighting cannot be banned in Spain.

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Green light for start of citizens initiative against cultural heritage status bullfighting

In early January, several organisations and other civil society representatives registered the citizens’ initiative with the Congress of Deputies in Spain. Spanish states and municipalities are unable to regulate the containment of bullfighting themselves due to their cultural heritage status. Current legislation therefore makes it impossible to take legal steps towards a ban on bullfighting.

Attempts have been made in Catalonia and the Balearic Islands to ban bullfighting. CAS has been involved in the process in both cases. In Catalonia, this involved a complete ban on bullfighting; in the Balearic Islands, a partial containment, which would not allow the wounding and killing of bulls – so-called bloodless bullfights. The existing legislation could not allow the end of bullfighting in both regions.

In addition, the current legislation ensures that more money goes to the bullfighting industry in the form of subsidies. Moreover, the law encourages the promotion of bullfighting among young people.

Citizens’ initiative launched

Now starts a process in which 500,000 signatures must be collected within nine months for Congress to consider the citizens’ initiative. This number is expected to be reached. Only people of Spanish nationality are allowed to put a signature on paper to support the citizens’ initiative.

Citizens’ initiative to revoke cultural heritage status of bullfighting

Interest from society

It has been more than 10 years since the Spanish government declared bullfighting as cultural heritage in 2013. Despite this legal protection, the annual number of bullfights has steadily declined. According to data coming from the Spanish Ministry of Culture, the number of bullfights has halved in the last decade (from 2,684 in 2009 to 1,425 in 2019). The same ministry surveyed how many people go to bullfighting and bull festivals: in 2018-2019 it was only 8 percent of the Spanish population.

According to recent surveys, more than 50 percent of Spaniards are in favor of banning or curbing bullfighting (SocioMétrica, 2019). In addition, a study by Fundación BBVA in 2022 showed that 8 out of 10 Spaniards are against the use of animals for bullfighting.

Bullfighting free

Finally, cultural heritage status could not prevent a legal ban on bullfighting in Catalonia. Although they are legal, there is no interest from society to organize them.

Catalonia has therefore been bullfighting-free for already 10 years. Maite van Gerwen, CAS director:

“If the status as cultural heritage disappears, all autonomous states are free to legally ban bullfighting.”

Keep an eye on our website and social media channels for more news about this citizens’ initiative!

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