As if it were a sleeping giant, the different bullfighting events linked to popular festivities have remained in a hibernation phase for two long years due to the pandemic and with them the always controversial and bitter debate about their future.
Baldoví agrees to “open a debate” about ‘bous al carrer’: “I am not in favor of prohibitions, I am in favor of asking people”
However, after the worst of COVID-19, the giant has woken up. Bullfighting activities have taken over the streets and squares of many towns throughout Spain and the constant trickle of deaths and injuries, in addition to the images that portray the suffering of animals spread by parties and animal rights groups, have once again put on table the convenience of holding these events, a melon that few politicians dare to open, even less after a few months of electoral appointments in different autonomies.
A good example of this situation is the Valencian Community, where more than half of the 16,000 bullfighting events throughout Spain are held, specifically, as recently reported by the Autonomous Secretary for Security and Emergencies of the Valencian Government, José María Ángel, until the end August 7,000 bullfighting acts have been registered in 280 municipalities with a balance of seven deaths and more than 300 injuries, including minors, as happened without going any further this Wednesday in Gilet (València).
But it is not something exclusive to Valencian autonomy. For example, in the recent running of the bulls in San Sebastián de los Reyes there have also been injuries of various kinds. In Cella (Teruel) A 69-year-old man passed away in mid-Augustor from a fatal goring when he tried to help his 41-year-old son, who was slightly injured during the bullfight.
In La Seca (Valladolid), a middle-aged man died after being gored by a cow, during the bullfighting of the Fiesta de los Novillos.
However, it is in the Valencian Community where a debate has been opened about the future of the so-called ‘bous al carrer’ (bulls in the street), which include the embolado bull and the roped bull.
The alarming number of deaths forced the Valencian Government to convene the Consultative Commission of Traditional Celebrations in which the Ministry of Justice, the bullfighting clubs and the veterinary, medical and nursing schools participate. However, the matter tried to be resolved by appealing for greater awareness, but without new security measures, considering that current regional regulations It is the most restrictive in Spain.
However, 24 hours later, asked about the lack of measures to tackle these situations, the Vice President of the Valencian Government, Aitana Mas (Compromís), took a step forward: “Obviously the regulation is not enough, it is a debate that we must have before of next summer and that should be included among the agreements of the third Pact of the Botanist”.
Since then, the reactions both for and against opening the debate on the future of these acts have not been long in coming. The President of the Valencian Government, Ximo Puig, in an interview this Thursday, September 1 on Onda Cero, considered that the open debate on the celebration of the ‘bous al carrer’ and the bullfights in the Valencian Community, after the seven fatalities registered so far this summer, is “absolutely legitimate”, he pointed out that each city council “has autonomous capacity to decide” on this issue and defended that the Valencian regulations that govern these events are “strict”.
The Federation of Bullfighting Clubs of Bous al Carrer of the Valencian Community responded with threats of denunciations and rejected “any type of petitions or initiatives that have a marked electoral and visibility purpose in view of the proximity of the municipal and regional elections.” In addition, he warned that to avoid “any temptation” in this regard, those who promote such initiatives “must face the Valencian fans.”
Just 24 hours later, Puig assured that “the word ‘prohibition’ is not on the agenda at the moment” while Mas insisted on the reflection by asking himself if “a party in which people die is a party”, although he later clarified that at no time did he ask “that anything be prohibited.” Both advocated improving security measures.
The spokesman for Compromís in Congress, Joan Baldoví, was in favor of “opening a debate” on Thursday about the ‘bous al carrer’ and the bullfights in the Valencian Community and pointed out that he is not in favor of “prohibitions” but to “ask people”.
The socialist general secretary in the province of Castellón, Samuel Falomir, mayor of L’Alcora, assured that “the only debate is how to improve the security of bous al carrer”. Another of the pact partners, Podemos, expressed his position in these terms: “We regret the deaths, this cannot continue to happen. Fun must be made compatible with safety and respectful treatment of animals”. The PP reiterated its completely supportive position of this type of bullfighting acts.
The spokeswoman for the Corts Valencianes and the Valencia City Council, María José Català, considered that, despite the numbers of injured and deceased, the regulation is “sufficiently forceful”. The parliamentarian is a councilor in a City Council, that of Valencia, which, as the mayor, Joan Ribó, recalled, prohibited in 2016 the ‘bou embolat’ and the ‘bou amb corda’ that were held in some districts.
Localities such as Tavernes de la Valldigna or Sueca, where a referendum was held a few years ago that disapproved them, have decided to dispense with this type of bullfighting, while similar proposals are launched in other municipalities.