In a decision sure to anger both children's advocates and anti-bullfighting organizers, a Spanish parliamentary committee has decided that bullfights can be broadcast on public television after school in primetime.
The committee rejected a ban that would have prevented Spanish national broadcaster RTVE from airing bullfights between the hours of 6 p.m. and 10 p.m., when children are most likely to be tuned in, according to The Local. The decision represents yet another victory for bullfighting advocates, who have worked hard to bring the traditional sporting event back to prominence after years of falling attendance, money problems and graying audiences.
RTVE stopped showing live bullfights back in 2006. Then, in 2011, the broadcaster revised its stylebook guidelines in order to stop showing prerecorded or rerun fights, out of concern for child viewers, reports The New York Times.
Bullfighting became so unpopular in the Catalonia region that opponents were able to push through a still-contentious bullfighting ban that went into effect in 2012.
Last September, however, the live broadcasts returned to RTVE with pomp and circumstance. Bullfighting promoters and advocates hoped that the return of live fights would help revive a historic pastime that had fallen largely out of favor as Spain's economy struggled and individual towns tried scraping together funds to host the violent events.
"Hopefully now through Spanish TV our media can once again generate enthusiasm among the people, the masses," Victoriano del Rio, a bull breeder, told the AP last year when live fights returned to RTVE. "[Bullfighting] is something that changes every second, a moment of life, a momentary breath, that I believe will once again take root among the people."
Government officials who had attempted to ban the fights during primetime spoke out against bullfighting this week, notes The Local. Televised fights represent a "flagrant breach" of the RTVE style guide, left-wing politician Joan Baldoví said, according to the site, adding that the "graphic" images inherent in bullfighting constituted "violence against animals" and were not appropriate for younger viewers.
Others scoffed at these concerns, however. Miguel Sanchez de Alcazar, a member of Spain's ruling Popular Party, said the proposed ban was merely part of "some sort of ideological crusade," per The Local.