The Fornalutx bull-run will not be addressed in the new legislation. | LL. Garcia


The legislative route to introducing a ban on bullfighting in the Balearics has been far from straightforward. The drafting of the text for new legislation became bogged down because it included all forms of events involving animals, which led to differences of opinion regarding, for instance, the horses of the Sant Joan fiestas in Minorca. Then there was the ruling by the Constitutional Court that the ban on bullfighting in Catalonia was unlawful because regional governments do not have the powers to enforce a ban.

PSOE, Més and Podemos have been committed to bringing in a ban, but faced with the court's decision and the complications created by the drafting, there is to now be a new legislative initiative aimed solely at bullfights. Although the government cannot ban them as such, the legislation will impose requirements that make it impossible for bullfights to be staged.

Among these requirements will be accessibility compliance at arenas, standards of safety and liability insurance that is so expensive that it would make no sense for organisers to pay it.

Rather than amending existing animal protection legislation, which is what had been envisaged, there will be a specific new law (something which certain parties had been calling for). Under this law, certain events will be unaffected, such as the horses for Sant Joan and, more controversially, the correbou bull-run in Fornalutx.

Both the horses and the correbou had caused political divisions, with PSOE in particular faced with open dissent from its members in Fornalutx who were opposed to a ban. The negotiations regarding the new law are being handled by Margalida Capellà of Més and Carlos Saura of Podemos. No longer involved is Baltasar Picornell because he is now the parliament speaker. Picornell, a strong advocate of animal rights, was fined for his part in an anti-correbou protest last year.

The government wants to move ahead quickly with the legislation in order to try and prevent there being bullfights this summer in Alcudia, Muro and Palma. Although the correbou is to be excluded from the legislation, there is a belief among certain politicians on the left that this could be covered by an eventual reform of the animal protection law.

The decision to proceed with a separate law and to exclude the correbou has outraged animal-rights groups. AnimaNaturalis, CAS Internacional and the Asociación Animalista de Baleares have given the government an ultimatum of ten days to set out measures by which it will ban the bull-run. If it does not, they say that they will take the matter to the Balearic High Court, claiming administrative irregularities in not prohibiting it.