Spanish state television drops bullfighting as too violent for children

Spain's state-run broadcaster has banned the televising of bullfights to protect children.

By Fiona Govan
Sunday Telegraph
9th January 2011

Radiotelevision Espanola (RTVE) has pledged not to show bullfighting on its channels given that the evening corridas usually occur during peak viewing times for children.

In its latest style book, presented to the parliamentary commission that oversees its mandate, the organisation puts bullfighting under the chapter "violence with animals", a controversial listing given the tradition in Spain.

Live broadcasts of the top bullfights were dropped from the schedule by RTVE in 2007 – 51 years after it launched with a bullfight – when the organisation claimed it could not always afford to buy broadcasting rights.

At the time, executives said they had "nothing against bullfighting" but had simply made a commercial decision.

But the admission that the spectacle is too cruel or violent for viewing by children has given hope to campaigners that a countrywide ban is within reach.

Last July Catalonia became the first region within mainland Spain to outlaw what is known as the National Fiesta. But supporters of bullfighting slammed RTVE's decision, labelling it a "hypocrisy" driven by political motives.

"There are those in education who deny that bullfighting on television even causes any distress to children," argued Inigo Fraile, head of the Union of Toreros. "It seems hypocritical because the same criterion is not applied to other content. There are many more violent scenes, not just to animals but to people, shown in movies and television series broadcast on public channels."