Balearic Islands bullfighting ban beckons

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PRESIDENT OF the Balearic Islands and leader of the regional Socialist (PSOE) party, Francina Armengol, reiterated that her government will move forward with amendments to the region’s 1992 animal welfare law, further restricting bullfighting and bull-baiting festivals in the islands despite warnings from the opposition Partido Popular (PP) that it will overturn the new law if it comes to power in the next regional elections in 2019.

Under proposed legislation filed during early last month by the Partido Socialista de las Islas Baleares (PSIB) with support from Podemos, MÉS per Mallorca and MÉS per Menorca deputies in the regional parliament, bullfighting in the Balearics will be allowed but with strict limitations.

The new law would limit the number of bulls to three per bullfight, each in the ring for a maximum of ten minutes, and the bulls can neither be spiked with banderillas nor killed with a sword by the matador, but must be returned alive after the ‘fight’ to the ranch that supplied the animal. The new legislation would also prohibit bullfighting on horseback, ban the sale of alcohol at bullfighting events and prohibit entry to minors under the age of 18.

In the Balearic regional parliament last week, PP regional spokesperson Margalida Prohens called the new law “ridiculous” and said it is an attempt to circumvent the national protection of bullfights as part of Spain’s cultural heritage, a position that has been upheld by the country’s Constitutional Court. Prohens said that should the PP win what are expected to be hotly contested regional elections in 2019, the conservative party would make overturning the proposed restrictions on bullfighting in the Balearics one of its top priorities.

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