Calls to include bullfighting on Spanish heritage list

© George M Groutas

BULLFIGHTING needs fuller legal protection to defend the tradition against the growing anti-bullfighting lobby and measures prohibiting the spectacle occurring throughout Spain.

A group from Seville named Ignacio Sánchez Mejías, after one of the country´s legendary bullfighters, have called for the sport to be included on Unesco’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding. 

The move comes amid concern from bullfighting supporters that, without state-sponsored protection, the culture will eventually disappear in the face of dwindling interest and higher rates of disapproval. 


As reported in Euro Weekly News earlier this year, the Valencian town of Paiporta has voted to eliminate subsidies and ban bullfighting from local fiestas. The practice is already completely banned in Catalunya and the Canary Islands, whilst polling has indicated that 60 per cent of 18-24 year-olds favour a ban. 

The tradition has a long, glorious, and controversial history in Spain, but interest has declined amid changing cultural attitudes, and the prevalence of other sports such as football and motor-racing. 

Earlier in 2015, France removed bullfighting from its own ‘intangible heritage’ UNESCO list after intensified pressure from animal rights activists. 

Intangible heritage is said to refer to culture that does “provide living communities with a sense of continuity in relation to previous generations and are of crucial importance to identity”, a definition that is sure to be debated in the courts for years to come.

Almost half a million people this year signed a petition against the government´s plans to introduce bullfighting courses in Spanish schools. 


  1. whilst we both are anti bull fighting where the bull is tortured and then eventually killed we support the local bull runs and ‘into the sea runs’ and are afraid going anti bull will stop what we enjoy – the only problem being with this runs is that it is usually drunken tourist who get hurt


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