Bullfighting in Spain, so fundamental to the country's identity but so vehemently opposed by many of its citizens, won a victory this week with a reclassification that will make it more difficult to ban.
The Guardian reports that the government of Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero has announced that the controversial sport will now be regulated under the Ministry of Culture instead of the Ministry of the Interior. This move will afford greater protection against regional governments and animal rights groups that have sought to see the corrida outlawed.
After Catalonia implemented a regional ban last year, the conservative Popular Party and others supported the change in classifying the sport, which has now been recognized by the Ministry of Culture as "an artistic discipline and cultural product" of the Kingdom of Spain.
The sport, or art, which has seen its audience decline over the past several decades, remains perhaps the most emblematic symbol of Spain. Ernest Hemingway believed bullfights were "of great tragic interest," and devoted his book, Death In The Afternoon, to discussing the traditions and values of the bullfighting community. The figure of the bull has long been involved in various aspects of Spanish culture, getting its chance at comeuppance during the Running of the Bulls and appearing throughout the works of Spain's most famous artist, Pablo Picasso.
Does the cruelty outweigh the tradition, or vice versa? Vote for your opinion in the poll below.
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