Barcelona’s Birthday Gift to Me
Barcelona will be closing it’s last bullring due to, say it with me: lack of demand. What a wonderful 40th birthday gift to me!
I will, however, believe it when I see it. I was in Barcelona two years ago, soon after it declared itself "an anti-bullfighting city," and let’s just say that declaration must have occurred in Barcelona’s collective dreams, because there was nothing "anti-bullfighting" about the place. I was encouraged to go to a bullfight by nearly every local I encountered, and when I reminded them of the cruelty of the "sport," they all sort of chuckled with that more-commonly-seen-in-France look that says, "silly American." And then, of course, they tossed the c-word my way ("culture," in case your mind went elsewhere). Oh yeah, and "tradition."
Now, I’d love to say that it was the older folks who didn’t think that bullfighting was cruel, or at least didn’t think it should be banned. It was everyone. Even women.
Furthermore, in 2004, the Catalonians (people in Barcelona) hated the US so much, and were so vocal about their animosity, that I found myself wanting to defend our foreign policies. And that, my friends, rarely happens.
I try to discourage people from going to Barcelona every chance I get. It’s not a vegetarian-friendly city (they equate vegetarians with pescetarians, and it’s almost impossible to get a vegan meal at a regular restaurant if you don’t like Indian food–and I don’t). You’re out of luck unless you can get everyone you’re with to go to a health food store or restaurant (there are a couple) where, thankfully, you might meet a couple of Animal People (although the stores and menus are loaded with dairy products).
I hope Barcelona is serious about this, and I hope that the running of the bulls is the next hideously-cruel event to get banned.
Remember, if you give them your tourist dollars, you are making a statement whether you intend to or not. You are telling them: I like your city and I support what you do. If you don’t support what they do, don’t give them your money.