27/08/2012 Spain (BG) - Spain’s public broadcaster has announced it will show its first bullfight in six years next month, a somewhat controversial decision as public opposition to bullfighting continues to grow.
State-funded Televisión Española (TVE) is currently in the middle of a major shake-up that has seen its budget slashed by 37% this year, and several acclaimed journalists forced out as the centre-right government overhauls the broadcaster’s top earners.
It took the decision to air bullfighting, which has been banned in some regions of Spain, after bullfighters, bull breeders and promoters agreed to waive their broadcasting fees.
Bullfighting is highly divisive in the country as some people consider it inhumane, while others claim it is an essential part of the traditional Spanish culture. It was classified as an art last year, making the Ministry of Culture responsible for it.
Councils have cut down on staging bullfights as a cost cutting measure, and cash strapped fans are making fewer visits to the ring. The number of bullfights in Spain fell by 34% between 2007 and 2010. Cataluña followed the example of the Canary Islands in banning bullfights last year while the city of San Sebastian announced this month it would prohibit bullfights at the local festivities next year.
Prime Minister of Spain Mariano Rajoy is known to be a fan of the ‘art’ of bullfighting. TVE took the decision to stop broadcasting bullfights in 2006, under the previous socialist government, because they were considered unsuitable viewing for children, even though there are no age restrictions to enter Spain’s bullrings.
TVE will start broadcasting bullfights featuring some of the country’s best known toreros, including El Juli, on September 5th, it revealed last Thursday evening. The broadcaster added: “First class festivities should be available for all fans in Spain”.