Bullfighting ban in northern Spanish city of Gijón provokes strong reactions

by Deborah Cater
The bullring in Gijón where a bullfighting ban has been introduced

The PSOE mayor of the Asturian city of Gijón, Ana González, announced on Wednesday that the city of Gijón is introducing a bullfighting ban.

The mayor did this after she discovered two of the bulls fought and killed bore the names ‘Feminista’ and ‘Nigeriano’ – something that is ‘unacceptable’.

Mockery

The conservative Popular Party in Gijón believes the socialist mayor of that city is ‘making a fool of herself’. It announced a campaign to collect signatures against the measure.

According to the mayor, the city council will not reissue the permit for the organisation of the Begoña bullfighting festival. The year the festival took place in Gijón on 13, 14 and 15 August. It believes ‘several borders have been crossed’. She goes on to say that in Gijón there are more and more voices questioning the bullfight. The names of the bulls fought this year, such as ‘Feminista’ and ‘Nigeriano’, have definitely tipped the balance.

Mayor González emphasised her city believes in equality and the integration of everyone, no matter where they were born; she cannot tolerate names like these.

nederlandse orthopeed

Bull breeders demand rectification

The Spanish association of fighting bull breeders, la Unión de Criadores de Toros de Lidia, explained the bulls were descended from the cows ‘Feminista’ and ‘Nigeriana’. Names that go back 35 years and are independent of ‘the social and political contexts’. The association stated in a press release the regulations for registering births of fighting bulls in the Stud Book (overseen by the Ministry of Agriculture). These require males have the name of the mother. “We find the deliberate controversy in the media and on social media, which is the result of ignorance about the livestock sector and the countryside, misplaced and deeply regrettable. And we demand an immediate rectification on the part of the mayor”, the bull breeders stated.

Restriction of freedom

The Partido Popular accuses the mayor of frivolity and thinks she “makes herself ridiculous” with her statements. They labelled the measure an “imposed ideological decision”. “The most radical socialism once again restricts the freedom of the people of Gijón,” said Pablo González, president of the PP of Gijón.

González indicated he will investigate the mayor’s decision from a legal point of view. He will also start a collection of signatures ‘in support of the bullfighters’ associations and groups’. He also announced that “in two years time, a PP government will organise the best bullfights for the city”. The far-right party Vox joined in the PP’s criticism. They stated the cancellation of the Feria de Begoña is a sign of sectarianism within an “anti-Gijón movement”. “The mayor of Gijón, who has failed as a municipal administrator, has turned the city into her own ideological battleground,” said Vox Asturias’ president Ignacio Blanco.

The left-wing party Unidas Podemos applauds the abolition of bullfighting in the Asturian city. It also approves of  the mayor listening “to the opinion of the inhabitants”. “It is unacceptable that in Gijón there are still shows where animals can be tortured and killed,” said Podemos deputy Nuria Rodríguez.

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