Pamela Anderson is a socialist

Spain declares bullfighting an "intangible cultural asset"

The parliament in Madrid has passed a law that gives bullfighting special protection. According to media reports, the ruling conservatives in the Senate, the upper house of parliament, voted for the project. The socialists abstained. The other parties voted against the bill.

The law provides for a number of measures to protect and promote bullfighting. The government is called upon to draw up a "national plan" to promote bullfighting. In addition, she should work to ensure that an application is made to include the "Corrida" on the UNESCO list of the intangible world cultural heritage of mankind. The initiative for the project came from a referendum. Bullfighters had collected 600,000 signatures for this.

With the Senate resolution, bullfighting, which has existed in its current form in Spain for four centuries, is legally recognized for the first time and subject to special protection. "This was the best that could have happened to the world of bullfighting," said the president of the Catalan industry association, Luis Gibert, of the newspaper "El PaĆ­s".

Appeals from animal rights activists

Animal rights activists from all over the world appealed in vain to parliamentarians to reject the bill. "Tormenting bulls for the entertainment of the public is part of a dark past and not of the 21st century," wrote US actress Pamela Anderson in an open letter to MPs. The German Animal Welfare Association warned against disguising a cruel spectacle as a cultural heritage and emphasized: "Only a general ban would be appropriate."

A good three years ago, Catalonia was the first region on the Spanish mainland to declare bullfighting illegal. The ban came into force in early 2012. Bullfighting advocates were able to celebrate a success with the current declaration of bullfighting as a cultural asset, but they did not achieve their most important goals: the law does not lift the ban in Catalonia. It is also not fundamentally prevented that other regions also declare bullfighting illegal. Recognition as a cultural asset is more of a gesture of a symbolic nature that hardly forces the state to take concrete measures.

It also seems questionable whether the new law will do anything to change the grave crisis that bullfighting has been in for years. Since the communities in Spain have to save hard, there is hardly any money left for the spectacle, especially in smaller towns. In the past five years, the number of fights has fallen by almost half. Most of the visitors are elderly. More than four fifths of young Spaniards no longer want to know anything about bullfighting.

kle / wl (dpa, epd, ape)