Thursday, 29 July 2010

Homage To Catalonia - The First Major Spanish Region To Ban Bullfighting

Catalonia has always had a special place in the heart of progressives.  Orwell's 'Homage To Catalonia' is a tremendous read of the bravery of many fighting on the Republican side in the Civil War (in other words, fighting on the side of the democratically elected Government, ejected by Franco's brutal putsch).

Sadly, Orwell's report from the front is also a digest of how the unforgivable non intervention of the British and French Governments during the Civil War (whilst the Nazis and Fascists were arming Franco) left the door open to the Soviets, who showed little respect for the Republican sentiments of the deposed Government.

The Catalans suffered more than most from Franco's brutal tyranny.  Since the fall of Franco, Catalonia has developed a unique identity - marked by the brilliantly successful 1992 Olympics and the continuing dominance of Barcelona's football team.

Today, Catalonia has made a brave and highly praiseworthy step.  It is the second Spanish region (after the Canary Islands in 1991!) to ban the horror of bull fighting.  The Catalan Parliament voted 68 to 55 to ban bullfighting, after a petition with some 180,000 signatures was presented to the Parliament.

 The cruelty of bullfighting is clear.  Vaseline is smeared into the bull's eyes before the fight commences and items are places into the bull's nose to prevent.  Long, sharp lances are then stabbed into the bull's neck and shoulders, before six spears are placed into the bull's neck muscles.  Following a lengthy near torture of up to an hour, the bull is killed with a sword being stabbed through the heart.  This is what some people still describe as 'sport' or 'entertainment':

Of course, whether to keep bullfighting is entire the decision of the various Spanish regions.  We should, though, pay our own 'homage to Catalonia' for playing its part in condemning this barbarous cruelty to the history books.

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