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July 28, 2010

HSI Hails Historic Vote to Ban Bullfighting in Catalonia

LONDON, UK — Humane Society International hails the historic decision by the Catalan Parliament to ban bullfighting as a victory for animal welfare and congratulates the Catalan Parliament for responding to its citizens' calls to put an end to this outdated tradition in their region.

This momentous decision follows from the popular legislative initiative launched by the Catalonian animal protection platform PROU! in 2008. Although only 50,000 signatures were needed to force a parliamentary vote, more than 180,000 Catalonian citizens signed the initiative calling for a Catalonian bullfighting ban.

Joanna Swabe, HSI EU director, comments, "Today's vote has put the final nail in the coffin of Catalonian bullfighting. Humane Society International hopes that other regions in Spain will soon follow suit and finally relegate the public torture of these magnificent animals to the annals of history." 

With this vote, an exemption for bullfighting will be removed from the existing Catalonian animal protection legislation. This means that bulls and horses, who have suffered enormously in the bullring, will finally be granted the same degree of protection as other agricultural animals in Catalonia.

The animal suffering involved in bullfighting was highlighted in a recent letter sent by the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association to the Catalan Parliament in response to unsubstantiated claims in a non-peer reviewed article that bulls do not feel pain during bullfights and that pain perception can be bred out in a line of animals.

More than 140,000 animal welfare supporters across the globe demonstrated their support for the campaign by signing a petition asking Catalan politicians to heed the wishes of their citizens and vote to end bullfighting in the region. The signatures, collected by HSI and the World Society for the Protection of Animals, were handed to Ernest Benach, president of the Catalonian Parliament, on July 26.

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Humane Society International and its affiliate organizations together constitute one of the world's largest animal protection organizations — backed by 11 million people. HSI is creating a better future for animals and people through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty worldwide — On the Web at hsi.org.

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