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Home Culture What are bullfighting awards for if nobody cares about the real problems of the sector | The bull, by the horns | Culture

What are bullfighting awards for if nobody cares about the real problems of the sector | The bull, by the horns | Culture

by News Room
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What are bullfighting awards for? Generally, to justify the existence of a club, to promote a commercial brand, to glorify politicians who only know the free and uncomfortable bullfights in the streets, and also, of course, to recognise the legitimate triumph of a bullfighter or a bull.

But a prize is not a transcendental element in bullfighting; For this reason, the commotion created as a result of the elimination of the one granted by the Ministry of Culture responds, above all, to a logical anger at the obvious desire to annoy those who made the decision, but nothing more. And it should be extremely worrying that private and public organizations have emerged willing to give more prizes, as if that were the big problem of the 2024 bullfighting festival.

When the President of the Government appointed Ernest Urtas as Minister of Culture, he knew that he was a declared enemy of bullfighting and that, sooner or later, he would adopt some decision, within his powers, that would give him notoriety as an anti-bullfighting fan among his people and the fans. .

And since Culture has little control over bullfighting – everything related to the sector is in the hands of the Autonomous Communities except the registry of professionals and annual statistics – the minister decided not to include any bullfighter in the Medals for Fine Arts and to suppress the Prize. National Bullfighting.

On May 29, the PP and PSOE competed in praise of bullfighting in the Senate, and last Wednesday the government party voted against the restoration of the national award in Congress.

The minister is supposed to have imagined that his measure would shake the sector, that it would react with countless statements of rejection and that similar awards would reappear here and there to try to restore the tarnished honour. What he perhaps did not suspect was that his attack would give rise to a feeling of rebellion and lengthen the queues at the ticket offices of the arenas.

But all this is nothing more than a passing situation caused by a minister, also ephemeral, who will one day be forgotten, and another, also forgettable, will come along and replace the suppressed prizes.

This excessive influx of spectators to the squares of Seville and Madrid could even be temporary, and after some time the balloon of euphoria caused by the current political circumstances may deflate.

But the suppression of the National Bullfighting Prize has caused a tsunami that has reached high institutional levels such as the Senate and the Assembly of the Community of Madrid.

On May 29, in the middle of the San Isidro Fair, the two major national parties, the PP and PSOE, engaged in a heated debate in the Upper House, promoted by the Popular Party to ask the Government to reinstate the abolished prize. And the representatives of both parties defended bullfighting as if it really mattered to them – their parties.

“We are facing a new attack on the national festival due to a sectarian decision that imposes censorship without any other argument or basis than the purely ideological one. A serious attack that, furthermore, comes from an institution that is the Ministry of Culture,” criticised the PP senator Juan Manuel Ávila, who also provided numerous data that support, in his opinion, the economic, employment and tourist potential of bullfighting shows.

At the San Isidro 2024 Gala, Victorino Martín received from the mayor of Madrid the award for the best livestock in Las Ventas in the previous year.Alfredo Arévalo (Image provided by Plaza 1)

“The PSOE clarifies, announces and determines that not only does it respect bullfighting, but, as legally stated in the legal system, we are going to continue helping and maintaining it,” said socialist Alfonso Moscoso.

“As a senator and as a bullfighting mayor,” he added, “I defend bullfighting not only as a spectacle, as an art, but as a rite loaded with a strong symbolic meaning in which aesthetic values, harmony, balance, color conclude. and the technique, which offers a unique moment of art and inspiration and that turns the festival into a cultural, artistic element, of heritage value, that transcends the value of the bull itself.”

And the two of them, Ávila and Moscoso, were so hot. But they both know that theirs was pure theater. Popular and socialists have demonstrated that bullfighting is of no interest to them other than as an electoral attraction in those local, provincial or regional constituencies where bullfighting has roots.

The Popular Party approved the law on bullfighting as cultural heritage in 2013 and never lifted a finger to implement it; The PSOE has never voted in favor of a bullfighting proposal either in Congress or in the Senate. Even on May 29, after that declaration of love by Mr. Moscoso, the Socialist Group abstained again, as is its custom. That is, empty words and wet paper.

But if there was any doubt about the PSOE’s bullfighting ambiguity, this past Wednesday, in the Congress of Deputies, it voted against a non-law proposal that pursued the same objective, the reestablishment of the eliminated prize. On May 29, abstention, and on June 26, vote against.

Among the many awards that are given out, politicians of all stripes and the Fundación Toro de Lidia, no one seems willing to take the bull by the horns.

And on the 19th, Victorino Martín, president of the Toro de Lidia Foundation (FTL), went to the Madrid Assembly to talk about the issue of the eliminated prize, and expanded on the cultural nature of the festival and animalism, which It is the favorite topic of this organization.

“In Spain we see clearly that, although the animal cause is used as a banner to try to ban bullfighting, it is not really the animals that are of concern; it is only the bulls precisely because of their cultural and symbolic character,” he said.

“In the entire world, Spain is the bulls, and the bulls represent Spain,” he continued; “For this reason, those who seek to end a Spain rooted in its history, heir to its values ​​and traditions, united by its diversity, have made ending bullfighting one of their main objectives.”

It is striking that, among the many who grant bullfighting prizes and those who are willing to grant them to oppose the minister, the politicians of all stripes and the Toro de Lidia Foundation, no one seems willing to take the bull by the horns, analyze the real situation of the festival, prepare a white paper on it, establish a plan of urgent and essential measures and put pressure on public administrations to defend and promote the bullfighting festival.

If the main concern is to award prizes, make speeches and insist on animal rights, the day will come when today’s festive and triumphant public will seek entertainment in a more dynamic, modern and interesting show. Because it is evident that bullfighting needs a profound regulatory renewal (the recent San Isidro Fair has shown that the National Bullfighting Regulations of 1996 are obsolete in many aspects) and an adaptation to the new times without forgetting the recovery of the bull as an essential protagonist, the search for purity and the demand for an integral and exciting fight.

Everything else, including awards, are temporary elements with little prospect of future.

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