A 500,000 strong petition calling for bullfighting to be given special cultural status has been approved by the Spanish parliament. The proposal was approved in a 180-40 vote that included 107 abstentions.
This move could overturn the local ban on the sport in Catalonia and the Canary Islands. The cultural status may also give huge tax breaks to those involved in the events.
A parliamentary cultural commission will now begin work on proposed legislation over the coming months that will go to a vote this year. In all likelihood, a new law giving bullfights the shelter would take superiority over regional government laws and could be used to overturn the Catalonia ban that went into effect last year.
The Catalonia ban irritated many Spaniards who saw it is as both a betrayal of Spanish culture and Catalonia trying to be different from the rest of the country.
Catalonia is a region in Spain that values its own distinctive history and heritage and last year began making moves from independence.
In 1991, the Canary Islands outlawed bullfighting, the sport was never popular there, however.