Spaniards dislike bullfighting but reject ban: poll

MADRID (Reuters) - Most Spaniards do not like the centuries-old spectacle of bullfighting but also do not believe it should be banned, a poll in El Pais newspaper showed on Sunday after Catalonia outlawed the activity.

In a poll of 500 people conducted by Metroscopia, 60 percent said they did not enjoy bullfighting though 57 percent said they disagreed with the move by the parliament of the northern Spanish region to ban it.

Catalonia will be the first mainland region to make the Spanish tradition illegal when the law comes in to effect in 2012 and, while animal rights activists have fought to stop the practice for years, most surveyed said the ban was political.

Some 58 percent of those polled said the move was due to Catalonia’s separatist aspirations from the rest of Spain, while only 36 percent put the ban down to animal cruelty.

A manifesto to protest the move will be read out on Sunday in 15 bullrings throughout Spain, as well as others in France and Portugal and including the Monumental de Barcelona which will have its first fight since the law was passed.

“This is an embarrassment used by the Catalans against the Spanish nation,” head of a professional bullfighting association Mesa del Torro Eduardo Martin Penato told Spanish radio on Sunday.

Reporting by Blanca Rodriguez; Writing by Paul Day; Editing by Jon Hemming