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Las Ventas, -bullring- Madrid, Spain. This slideshow is to create awareness of the controversy of bullfight in Spain. A ban on bullfighting in Catalonia was approved by the Catalan Parliament on 28 July 2010, following a petition. The petition attracted 180,000 signatures. Catalonia became the second autonomous community in Spain to ban bullfighting after the Canary Islands did so in 1991. The ban will come into force on 1 January 2012. Bullfights by matadors are to be banned in Catalonia at the end 2011 but bull-dodging, in which bulls are not killed, will remain legal. The last bullfight in Catalonia took place on 25 September 2011 at La Monumental.

The Guardian March 7, 2010 Madrid however protects bullfighting as an art form. Spain’s capital and its great rival, Barcelona, are taking opposite sides in a cultural battle over the fate of the corrida. In a clear provocation to its great rival Barcelona, Spain’s capital city of Madrid has officially elevated bullfighting to the status of a protected art form, as matadors, philosophers and politicians become embroiled in a furious dispute over the country’s bloody but emblematic sport.

Madrid’s local government has declared it a protected piece of the region’s cultural heritage. Esperanza Aguirre, head of the conservative regional government in Madrid, announced that the bullfight was to be included on the list of items of “special cultural value” that were protected by law.

“It is an art-form that deserves to be protected and that has been part of Mediterranean and Spanish culture since time immemorial,” she said.

The eastern regions of Valencia and Murcia immediately declared the bullfight part of their protected cultural patrimony, thus confirming its new status as a key weapon in the long-running battle of identities waged between Spain’s fractious regions. The move puts the corrida on the same cultural level as Madrid’s most important historical buildings and monuments. It gives fight organisers special tax breaks and, critics claim, could see those trying to stop bullfights being taken to court for “damaging” the region’s cultural patrimony. Fines for those who damage Madrid’s protected cultural patrimony range from €60,000 to €1.2m.