Spain’s Top Court Overturns Catalan Bullfighting Ban

Bullfighter "El Juli" faces a bull in 2008 in Spain. Photo: Francisco Gonzalez / Flickr

MADRID — Spain’s top court has overruled a local ban against bullfighting in the powerful northeastern region of Catalonia, saying it goes against a national law protecting the spectacle.

The Constitutional Court ruled Thursday that Catalan authorities generally could regulate such public spectacles, and even ban them, but in this case the national parliament’s ruling that bullfighting is part of Spain’s heritage must prevail.


Catalonia stirred controversy when it banned bullfighting in 2010, becoming Spain’s second region to do so after the Canary Islands in 1991.

The decision was part of the growing movement against bullfighting but it was also seen as another step in the Catalan government’s push to break away from Spain.


The ban had little practical effect as Catalonia had only one functioning bullring, in its capital, Barcelona.