San Sebastian bans bullfighting, defying Spanish federal effort to protect it as heritage

From ANIMAL PEOPLE,  April 2013:

MADRID––Defying Parliamentary efforts to re-establish bullfighting nationwide,  the largely Basque city of San Sebastian in March 2013 adopted new rules for leasing the municipal bullring which exclude bullfights. Reported Associated Press,  “Specifications approved by the city council stipulate that companies bidding to run the bullring must promote a wide range of music,  sports,  artistic and cultural events,  but they ‘expressly prohibit activities that involve any form of cruelty to animals.’  Mayor Juan Karlos Izagirre,” of the Basque nationalist Bildu party,  “was elected to office in June 2011,”  Associated Press added,  “and has since then maintained that bullfights at the covered Illunbe ring lose money.” In recent years the arena has been used mainly for basketball. San Sebastian is the capital of Gipuzkoa,  the smallest Spanish province,  but the cultural hub of the Basque autonomous community.  All three regions of Spain with strong separatist movements have now banned bullfighting.  Catalonia banned arena bullfights in July 2010,  effective in January 2012.  Two of the three bullrings in Barcelona,  the Catalan capital,  had already been converted to other uses.  The Canary Islands banned bullfighting in 1991. The conservative Popular Party,  controlling Parliament,  on February 12,  2013 accepted a 590,000-signature petition from the Federation of Bullfighting Entities of Catalonia and passed a resolution to protect bullfighting nationwide as part of the Spanish cultural heritage.  The resolution passed 180-40, with 107 abstentions. “A parliamentary cultural commission will now begin work on proposed legislation over the coming months,”  explained Ciraran Giles of Associated Press,  “with expectations that it will go to a vote this year. In theory,  a new law giving bullfights protection would take precedence over regional laws and could be used to overturn the Catalonia ban.” Moving ahead of the federal government,  the city of Seville protected bullfighting as a cultural heritage in early April 2013.  Madrid,  the federal capital,  and Seville,  the capital of Andalusia,  are the two cities where Spanish bullfighting is reputedly most lucrative––largely because of tourist visits.  Madrid is the most visited city in Spain,  Barcelona second,  and Seville third.

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