A ROW has broken out after it was revealed a €400 ‘gift voucher’ birthday present to 18-year-olds to spend on ‘cultural’ activities will not have bullfighting on the menu of eligible categories.
The Olive Press reported that an estimated half a million teens will be in line for the government-sponsored voucher in 2022. It is designed to give theatres, cinemas, book shops, concert venues and other hard-hit businesses in the cultural sector a post-COVID boost.
The decision not to include bullfighting as an eligible category in the €190 million scheme has been criticised by torero fans, although animal rights groups are delighted.
The tradition of fighting bulls in Spain can trace its roots back 2,000 years, according to some commentators, but it has been in decline in recent years, particularly amongst the younger urban crowd.
A spokesman for PETA said that the decision not to include bullfighting in the scheme showed that the tide was turning against the blood sport.
But The Fundacion Toro de Lidia, which represents the bullfighting sector, complained that Spanish law classifies bullfighting as part of the country’s cultural heritage.
Just 8% of the population are said to attend fights even occasionally and there are moves to ban under-16s from attending the spectacles.
Delegates at the 40th Federal Congress of the ruling PSOE (socialist) party being held in Valencia next week will debate potential changes to stop promoting and subsidising the sport as an event of importance in Spain.
Bullfighting has been banned in over 100 towns in the country over the past decade, but a regional ban by Catalunya passed in 2010 was later ruled unconstitutional by Spain’s Supreme Court.