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Spanish region votes to keep ‘fire bulls’

Published on 22/09/2010

Lawmakers in Spain's Catalonia region, which voted in July to ban bullfighting, decided on Wednesday to maintain a tradition in which flames are attached to a bull's horns as it runs through the streets.

The regional parliament voted by 114 to four with five abstentions to keep the spectacle, known as “correbous.”

In a correbou, flaming torches are attached to the bull’s horns and it is let loose in the streets of a town or village where people tease it or try to run from it.

The northeastern region of Catalonia in July became the first part of mainland Spain to ban the centuries-old tradition of bullfighting, and some deputies noted the contradiction with Wednesday’s vote.

Daniel Pi of the Catalonia Greens party (ICV) condemned the latest decision as “unnecessary” and said those in favour of maintaining the correbous wanted to “to be forgiven for approving the popular initiative” to ban bullfighting.

There is intense debate in Spain over bullfighting, which animal activists condemn as a form of torture but others see as part of the country’s cultural heritage.

In a recent opinion poll, 60 percent of Spaniards said they do not approve of the spectacle, which culminates with the death of the bull from a matador’s well-placed sword.

Another tradition in parts of Spain is the bull run, in which crowds of people run ahead a pack of bulls, which thunder through the streets towards the bull ring.

In the most famous bull run in Pamplona in July, 37 people including 11 foreigners were injured this year.

Yet another annual tradition was observed in central Spanish town of Tordesillas last week in which a bull was chased by residents on horseback and on foot and then lanced to death.