Margalida Capellà of Més, one of the main proponents of the bullfighting legislation. | Joan Torres

The Balearic parliament has passed the government's bullfighting law, by which bullfighting is not banned but numerous restrictions are placed on it. Most notable is the fact that the bull cannot be killed or harmed. Likewise, the bull in the Fornalutx correbou bull-run cannot be killed after the run takes place. Nor can ropes to be tied to its horns.

The legislation is not as it was originally envisaged. Previously, the intention had been to ban bullfighting, but the ruling of the Constitutional Court regarding the ban in Catalonia forced a redrafting: the court decided that the Catalonia ban was unconstitutional.

The scope of the legislation was initially much broader in that it dealt with all fiestas and events involving animals. This provoked differences of opinion regarding, for instance, the horse fiestas in Minorca. Under the original proposals, they could well have been outlawed. The revised legislation doesn't include them, as it makes a distinction between wild and domesticated animals.

The national government has already warned the Balearics that the new legislation could also fall foul of the Constitutional Court. During yesterday's parliamentary debate, Miquel Jerez of the Partido Popular suggested that Madrid will take the law to the court and that it will not be applied. "The national government has warned that nine of the fourteen articles in the legislation are unconstitutional. Yet they (the government) remain committed to legislate on what will inevitably raise a conflict of powers." Jerez drew attention to the legal protection given to bullfighting as cultural heritage for all Spaniards, a provision that is therefore superior to regional legislation.

Xavier Pericay of Ciudadanos branded the legislation useless. "As has happened with the law for holiday rentals, this cannot be applied either. Like it or not, it clashes with the legal framework."

For the government parties, Damià Borràs (PSOE) said that it is a law for animal welfare that will prevent the suffering, torture and killing of bulls. Carlos Saura of Podemos, who support the government, attacked the "centralism" of the state and its use of unconstitutionality. He recommended that the PP should listen to associations and animal-rights groups who support the law.