Proposed Balearic legislation, designed to prevent the staging of bullfights, may well end up going the same way as Catalonia’s legislation that banned bullfighting. Catalonia’s law was deemed unconstitutional, and Madrid is advising the Balearic government that its legislation is no more than an “unconstitutional artifice” to try and get round national law.
The national ministry of culture, via the directorate of fine arts, has sent a report to the regional government which is forceful in pointing out that the proposed legislation violates some aspects of the Constitution and the powers of the state. It says that account has not been taken of the Constitutional Court’s ruling regarding regional legislation that undermines these state powers.
Among the warnings that Madrid has sent is one to do with the death of the bull. Prohibiting bullfights which include the death of the animal is itself considered to be unconstitutional. Specific weapons are used for bullfights, the report notes. Comparisons with other countries, e.g. Portugal, where the animal isn’t killed, are “irrelevant”. Cultural heritage protection given to bullfighting is because the bullfight is an expression of Spain’s cultural tradition. Therefore, any limitations are unconstitutional.
The report considers the legislation’s limit on the number of bulls which could take part in an event: this is unjustified and a restraint on business. It looks at the banning of the use of horses: this can’t be done.
It addresses the weight of the bull, something referred to in the legislation, and the provision for bulls to come from the nearest ranch. The culture ministry believes this is ridiculous. If there is a theatrical production, would there be a contractual stipulation that only actors closest to the theatre can take part?
In short, Madrid believes that the government is seeking to create administrative barriers to the staging of bullfights which are illegal.