Spain ends national bullfighting award

National bullfighting award cancelled

Image of a bullfight in Spain. Credit: David Pineda Svenske/

Could Spanish heritage be under threat, or is this a significant step in the evolution of Spanish tradition?

It was recently announced that the Spanish Ministry of Culture announced it would no longer issue the National Bullfighting Award.

The award was created in 2011, however, this decision underscores a significant policy shift, highlighting increased public concern for animal welfare.

Cultural shift and public consultation

The Ministry stated that the cancellation begins with a public consultation aimed at gathering opinions before the ministerial order is officially passed to terminate the award permanently. This action reflects a broader societal move away from practices seen by many as animal cruelty.

Government stance and public opinion

20 Minutos reported that Pedro Rodriguez, a journalist from RTVE, remarked on the evolving public sentiment that favours animal rights.

‘They are aware that we are talking about a tradition in Spain but traditions evolve and this is a reflection of society, because there is a majority that does not view animal abuse favourably and is increasingly more aware of their well-being.’

Last year’s recipient, Julian Lopez, known as ‘El Juli’, will remain the final awardee, concluding a chapter in the accolade’s history.

Controversy and opposition

The announcement has not been without controversy. Victorino Martin, president of the Toro de Liria Foundation, accused Ernest Urtasun, the current Minister of Culture, of failing his duties and discriminating against the bullfighting sector for ideological reasons.

Regional response to national decision

In response to the national government’s decision, Emiliano Garcia-Page, president of Castilla-La Mancha, declared his intention to initiate a new set of bullfighting awards within his region, potentially in collaboration with other autonomous communities.

He shared his plans on Twitter/X, aiming to extend the reach of these awards both nationally and internationally.

‘These awards also have the ambition of being able to be coordinated or shared with other autonomies, since we intend for them to have national and international scope,’ he stated.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.