Onlookers are expected to return to Madrid’s Las Ventas bullring in May, for the first time since Spain was hit by the pandemic.
Nearly all of the country’s bullrings and squares have been closed during lockdown restrictions – a move which has both sent matadors into financial disaster and sparked relief from animal rights campaigners, who believe the practice is cruel and should be banned.
Las Ventas, one of the world’s most famous bullrings, will open its doors to a maximum of 4,000 spectators on May 2nd.
This means that the event will still observe distancing rules, as the crowd amounts to just 40% of the venue’s capacity. Other Covid-19 prevention measures, such as wearing face masks, will also be mandatory.
Major bullfighting events were cancelled in 2020, including Pamplona’s San Fermin festival in July. This saw many bulls being sent straight to the abattoir.
Spain’s tradition of bullfighting remains controversial – is it an inherent part of culture that contributes to the Spanish economy or animal cruelty?
An online poll by Ipsos MORI, for World Animal Protection, revealed that 19% of adults in Spain aged 16-65 said they supported bullfighting – while 58% opposed it.
The economically-hit profession of matadors forms part of a wider financial crisis in Spain. The government lowered its GDP forecast for 2021 in April, following continued lockdown restrictions putting a dent in the country’s economic recovery.