Connect with us


Poll Reveals Sharp Drop in Spanish Support for Bullfighting Down to 19%



A new opinion poll on bullfighting in Spain, carried out on the eve of national elections in the country has shown a steep fall in support for the activity, along with strong opposition to other festivals and traditions. The online poll by Ipsos MORI for World Animal Protection, found that 19% of adults in Spain aged 16-65 said they supported bullfighting, compared to 58% who opposed it – three times as many. This is a sharp drop from 30% support amongst adults aged 16-65 in a similar Ipsos MORI online poll conducted in March 2013.

The current poll also found that

  • Only 7% of 16-24 year old respondents supported bullfighting compared to 29% support in the 55 – 65 age group. In the 16 – 34 age group, 71% opposed and 10% supported bullfighting and in the 35 – 65 year old group, 51% opposed and 23% supported.
  • 84% of 16-24 year olds said they were “not very” or “not at all” proud to be living in a country where bullfighting is a cultural tradition. In comparison 67% of all respondents 16 – 65 said they were not proud of this.
  • Although the Spanish Government can use public funds to assist the bullfighting industry, there was strong opposition to this with around 3 in 4 (73%) disagreeing that this should take place. A similar proportion (73%) disagreed with public funds being used to promote bullfighting as part of Span’s national heritage.


The poll also revealed strong opposition to individual festivals and traditions. The Toro de la Vega festival, was supported by just 5% of adults 16 – 65, with 75% of adults aged 16-65 being opposed.

The Toro de Fuego festival in Medinaceli had 7% support, with 71% being opposed. In November 2015, World Animal Protection delivered a petition signed by 140,000 supporters to the Mayor of Medinaceli calling on him to stop this cruel event taking place.

Ruud Tombrock, Regional Director of World Animal Protection said “Outdated traditions of bullfighting and other cruelty towards animals in the name of culture are no excuse for the torture that it involves. And the torture of animals should have no place anywhere in the world, least of all in a modern, progressive nation like Spain.

World Animal Protection believe these results are a fantastic opportunity for Spanish politicians to show they listen to their people. It’s clear the public are moving away from the outdated practice of bullfighting.  Forward–looking Spanish politicians should seize this moment and what may well be the popular appeal of taking a stand on this issue.

This is why we are calling on them to make a resolution that 2016 will be the last year these despicable traditions will take place. All political parties should make a new pledge to end the cruelty – not just bullfighting but of all the other fiestas and festivals where animals are treated cruelly, or terrified, taunted and tortured. This includes the Toro de la Vega, where mounted horsemen armed with steel tipped lances pursue a bull to its death. The Toro de Fuego, where a tethered bull has flammable material tied to its horns which are then ignited. We’re calling for an end to the use of precious public funds to support such events – Festivals or fiestas which masquerade as cultural assets but which in reality are heartless, dying traditions which should rightly fade into history.”

Marta Esteban, President of Spain’s “Torture is not Culture” coalition, said “Bullfighting is mortally wounded in Spain and we will see it collapse in the next 5 coming years. Attendance has dropped 54% in the last 7 years (Source: Estadísticas de Asuntos Taurinos 2009-13. Ministerio de Cultura) and only survives due to public subsidies which we are also managing to gradually remove as more political parties listen and respond to our demands. We thank World Animal Protection for this poll, which so neatly reflects the reality of bullfighting in Spain, as well as for their support in lobbying with politicians and showing them what Europe thinks about this abominable practice.”

National elections took place in Spain on Sunday December 20 but no party won a workable majority or has been able to form a coalition with smaller parties. Spain has traditionally been a two-party state but the emergence of two new parties (Podemos and Ciudadanos) suggests a new reforming era, perhaps more in tune with the public feeling revealed in this poll. It is anticipated that the general election may need to be re-run in two months.