Spanish region bans bullfighting
Catalonia's parliament on Wednesday voted to ban bullfighting from January 1, 2012 becoming the first region in mainland Spain to act against the centuries-old tradition.
The ban was approved with 68 votes in favour and 55 against, sparking cheers from supporters of the measure in the assembly.
In a move being watched across Spain, the motion tightens Catalonia's animal protection law to remove an exception for bullfights from a ban on killing or mistreating animals in shows.
The vote came after animal rights activists campaigning under the platform "Prou!", or "Enough!" in the Catalan language, collected 180,000 signatures in on a petition calling for the assembly to decide on the ban.
Catalonia, whose capital Barcelona is Spain's second-largest city, has followed the lead of the Canary Islands in the Atlantic which made bullfighting illegal in 1991.
Several dozens of supporters and opponents of bullfighting gathered outside of the assembly during the lawmakers' debate and vote.
"Stop animal cruelty," read the signs of the anti-bullfighting crowd while those in favour of the practice said: "Bulls yes, freedom yes".
© 2010 AFP