Will bullfighting ever be outlawed in the Balearics?

13-08-2010Pere Bota

On 10 November, the Spanish government lodged an appeal with the Constitutional Court against aspects of the Balearic bullfighting legislation which it believed invaded state powers and were therefore unconstitutional. Madrid asked for a provisional suspension of the legislation, and the court has now agreed to this. The suspension will be in place for five months, at the end of which the court will have to decide to either lift the suspension or ratify it.

The suspension applies to specific articles in the legislation. These include ones to do with the age of the bull, its weight and the means of weighing it, the banning of the use of horses and also of the use of any sharp instrument that can cause injury to the bull and its death.

The Madrid government made its appeal because the Balearic government does not have relevant powers to legislate and because of contravention of state laws on intangible heritage and bullfighting. Madrid believes that the Balearic law "invades and undermines state powers that regulate basic conditions that guarantee the equality of all Spaniards to exercise their rights and duties".

The Balearic legislation stopped short of an outright ban on bullfighting. This had been the intention, but the Constitutional Court's ruling on the Catalonia bullfighting ban required a change in legislative strategy. The articles in the law seek to make the staging of bullfights impossible and specifically make the killing of a bull unlawful.

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