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Catalan bullfighting ban gives hope to Mexican abolitionists

September 30, 2011

In a landmark development for animal rights, Catalonia has become the first mainland region in Spain to outlaw bullfighting.

The last ever bullfight in the autonomous Spanish province took place in Barcelona’s Plaza Monumental last Sunday, giving hope to those who want to see the sport banned here in Mexico.

“I think it was due to three main factors: the awakening that has occurred in human consciousness, the social pressure to make change possible and the authorities who have heard the voice of citizens,” said Guadalajara animal rights activist Elsa Stettner.

While those opposed to bullfighting can take encouragement from Catalonia’s bold stance, they should not expect Mexico to immediately follow suit.

“I don’t know how long it will take,” admitted Stettner. “But I guess it will take 10 to 15 years for this sense of respect for all living beings to permeate what some consider ‘culture and tradition.’”

Although many consider it barbaric, the sport remains popular in Mexico, with the capital city home to the world’s biggest bullring, the 55,000-seater Plaza Mexico. Yet Stettner remains confident that change is inevitable.

“What happened in Catalonia, is the beginning of what will end up happening in all the world, including Guadalajara and the rest of the country, whose inhabitants are part of the great humanist tradition in which man realizes he is not the owner of the planet, but part of it, just like all the plants and animals.”

The first Spanish region to ban bullfighting was the Canary Islands, in 1991, while the Catalan parliament voted to outlaw the controversial but traditional sport in July 2010.

Stettner views this as part of a growing trend: “Conferences and councils have recently become interested in animal abuse, and are seriously contemplating making changes in laws and regulations on the subject. This was once a dream, but today it is reality. These things are already happening.”

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