Bullfighting is back in Spain despite the hopes of animal rights’ campaigners that the coronavirus pandemic would end the tradition.
The Spanish government has published a new decree that allows bullrings to reopen for the first time in three months.
There are conditions, including regions needing to be in either phase two or phase three of the COVID-10 de-escalation period which most of the country is already in.
Those areas in phase two can only fill their bullrings to a third capacity or a maximum of 400 people.
Once in phase three, this increases to 50 per cent or 800 spectators.
These bullrings have to be outdoors and all the seats have to be allocated in advance.
Any equipment used and anything shared must be completely disinfected after use.
There has been no bullfighting since Spain declared its State of Emergency on March 14th and the industry had voiced its “grave concerns” over whether the tradition could survive.
Thousands of bullfights and fiestas were cancelled, as well as bull running festivals, the most famous being the San Fermin in Pamplona which should have been held from July 6th to 14th and would have attracted hundreds of thousands of spectators from all over Spain and beyond.
Animal rights groups said the coronavirus pandemic should have been the death knell for the sport and that it was part of Spanish culture only enjoyed by the minority.
During the pandemic, bullfighting organisations and unions called for extensive aid and compensation for breeders, bullrings and bullfighters, saying losses would amount to more than 700 million euros in ticket and sponsorship revenue.
Despite the government’s decision to give the go-ahead for bullfights to restart, the industry says it is still furious about the lack of financial help and supporters are planning to launch protests at the weekend in various locations.
They claim the government has shown them “utter contempt”. Marches are planned in Seville, Valencia, Albacete and Guadalajara.
The party for the defence of animals, Pacma had hoped there woud be no more bullfights this year because of the coronavirus and that more than 12,000 bulls would have been saved.
AnimaNaturalis also launched a petition calling for “not one euro of help” and received more than 150,000 signatures.