Protesters plan brouhaha at Jerez Horse Festival

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Axel Alvarez/Shutterstock
Bullfighting used to be Spain’s national fiesta, but may now be in jeopardy

ANIMAL RIGHTS campaign group ‘Toniza Environmental Association’ are attempting to whip up support for a protest to be held on Saturday May 7 at the Jerez de la Frontera bullring.

The anti-bullfighting march, organised by a local collective in Jerez, has been timed to coincide with the Jerez Horse Festival, which takes place this week and includes a series of bullfights in its weekend programme.

Among the fighters is national legend Jose Tomas, better known as ‘The Messiah’, who makes his first appearance of the season during the headline event on Saturday, which coincides with the planned demonstration.

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The Madrilenian matador will feature alongside bullfighting heavyweight Jose Maria Manzanares and local icon Juan Jose Padilla, who has been injured by marauding bulls an outlandish 26 times and now fights wearing an eye patch following an accident in 2011, after which he literally left the arena holding half his face in his right hand.

It remains to be seen whether the protesters can cause a stir during one of Jerez’ main events, as Spain continues to be split on the bullfighting tradition.

Animal rights activists have found an audience among a population who increasingly view bullfighting as a financial drain at a time of economic crisis and a symbol of the nation’s ills, whereas advocates insist that the tradition has been an integral part of Spanish culture for centuries.

After last year’s local elections saw many leftists and socialists take office in councils across the country, many municipalities across the country have been considering outright bans or setting limits on public funding for the tradition.

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