Before I begin, I’d like to point out that thanks to my better judgement, I purposefully avoided titling this article “what a load of old bullocks” which I could so easily have done.

Now, as has no doubt been big news in Spain, Catalonia has voted to outlaw bullfighting.  The news will surely come as a source of joy for animal rights activists everywhere and much to the chagrin of backwards looking individuals all over mainland Spain.  It is the latter party that are going to be the focus of this article.

If you’re not familiar with the corrida de toros, it is a cruel spectacle whereby bulls are ritually murdered for the amusement of screaming crowds who love nothing more than seeing a man dressed in funny clothes fight a bull from the relative safety a stadium.

While this event has a traditional significance in Spain, it’s fair to say that many people are not exactly thrilled by the idea, even less wimpy or squeamish people than this writer.  However, as with any tradition, bullfighting has its supporters who understandably do not want to see their national past time consigned to the dustbin of history.

Spain does however have other traditions of which to be proud; Spanish art, cuisine and music have all found popularity around the world and in many ways, they were the leading light of European fascism in the 1930s, setting the template that Italy and Germany would follow.

Much like fox hunting in the UK though, the bullfight is simply becoming less and less relevant in the 21st century and could easily be considered a minority interest.  There was a time when it was acceptable to travel to the Americas, brutalise the locals and steal all their gold, but this is largely no longer the case.  It would seem inevitable that bullfighting will go the way of Spanish colonialism and that future generations will look back and cringe.

Having said that, the vote to ban bullfighting – as the result of a petition signed by 180,000 people – was not unanimous, the outcome being 68 for and 55 against with ballots being cast ‘according to conscience’ which must have been quite unusual and scary for those involved.

Some have even cried ‘conspiracy’, claiming that this is not merely a case of a brutal bloodsport losing favour with the public but a front by nationalist Catalans acting like rebellious teenagers, kicking out at their parents in an attempt to assert themselves.  Though there may be some degree of political motivation in the ban, it is most certainly the bulls that stand to benefit the most from today’s news, rather than nationalist organisations.

The other main argument is that ‘thousands’ will be put out of work as a result of the ban.  I’m sure the matadors can make careers for themselves in much nicer ways.  One alternative to letting the bull slowly bleed to death before lancing it in the back, could be to swear and make insulting gestures at dairy cows; “you fucking cow”, “yer mum’s so fat etc.”  Or why not keep everything as it is, but remove the weaponry and let the matador really prove his superiority over one of nature’s great beasts armed with nothing more than a spray bottle full of water and a feather duster.  Let’s not forget that matadors also have the important job of adorning the top of Christmas trees, although in fairness, that is only a seasonal role.

Ultimately, despite the protests of one section of the Spanish populace, Catalonia’s ban on bullfighting undoubtedly serves notice on the future of this strange tradition, though it may take the rest of Spain a while to catch up.