Campaigners will on Wednesday present the petition – which opposes plans to create bullfighting courses in state schools – to Spain’s Education Ministry, which announced the controversial plans in October.
It revealed a draft proposal to create bullfighting courses as an optional subject for Spanish students aged 15 to 17 who choose to take up vocational training after completing compulsory education.
The full-time course, which lasts for two years, will be offered at a number of colleges around the country, with individual regions given the right to decide whether or not they want to implement the controversial studies.
The course, which would teach students both the theoretical and practical aspects of bullfighting, would be titled 'Tauromachy and Auxillary Ranching Activities'.
“They want to perpetuate a tradition in decline by teaching 15-year-old children to torture animals, making a mockery of the already damaged reputation of the Spanish education system,” Carlos Moya Velázquez, who started the petition, wrote on change.org.
The petition has received an outpouring of support from both in Spain and abroad. Of the over 430,000 signatures already collected, around 70 percent are from Spain and 30 percent from abroad, namely Latin American countries including Argentina, Venezuela and Peru.
The Education Ministry’s plans are largely seen as an attempt to defend the increasingly controversial activity of bullfighting, which is already banned in Catalonia and the Canary Islands and faces growing opposition.
Only last week, the European Parliament voted to end bullfighting subsidies worth up to €125 million ($138 million) a year – in what was hailed as a victory for animal rights campaigners.
Defending the plans for the course, Spain’s Education Minister, Íñigo Méndez de Vigo recently told Europa Press that bullfighting was part of a “long tradition in Spain”.
The course could also bolster bullfighting schools which have recently hit the headlines after left-wing Madrid mayor Manuela Carmena withdrew funding for one of the capital’s most prestigious bullfighting schools.
Carmena pulled over €60,000 of subsidies from the Marcial Lalanda bullfighting school arguing that it “went against animal rights”.
It was a deadly summer during Spain's famous bull runs, with 12 people being gored to death during the increasingly controversial events.