In the News: Catalonia bans Bullfighting – Positive Cultural Change

I don’t need to name just one article. So many international news sites have cited Catalonia finally enacting a ban on bullfighting. It’s controversial, there’s a lot of opposition. But so far, the ban stands.

Why ban bullfighting?

Well, animal rights groups were a major influence. But some Filipinos will agree; isn’t it a cruel practice? Some Filipino friends told me that they pity the bull being killed. Not to mention the matadors, picadores and other bullring crew who risk goring or trampling by the pull just to give people a show. Or, time spent on this rather wasteful “culture” can be diverted to more useful things.

This is a personal view, but I believe that Catalonia’s bullfighting ban represents a good example of culture change brought about by legislation.

It is a model that the Philippines can emulate. A tradition that has long been sacred and been part of the cultural identity of a country has been challenged and removed by the rule of law – perhaps rightly. If Filipinos were in the place of Catalonians, they might have gone to the streets and called their leaders “corrupt,” “unpatriotic,” “killing culture,” or any other tag, and will demand their leaders’ leaving office. But Catalonians are more civilized than that – they would rather go through the system. I don’t know if some major street demonstrations will happen in that country, but I doubt it.

For those familiar with my viewpoint, you know what I’ll say: tradition isn’t sacred. It’s made by people, and can be changed by people. This is the kind of attitude we need to apply to our lifestyles and practices in our country. Be it the jeepney transport system, be it jueteng, be it utang ng loob or other “Filipino” traits, or patronage politics, we have to be willing to let go of what we are led to believe as “Filipino” and redefine what “Filipino” should truly mean. And it should mean dong what’s right.

This article in Bloomberg also cites the Canary Islands banning bullfighting, dogfighting and cockfighting. Catalonia isn’t the only one banning “cultural” stuff. Of course, there are better things to ban (or regulate) than animal fighting spectator sports. But the thing is, just because it’s culture or tradition doesn’t mean it’s untouchable. The message is there; even if it’s part of culture or tradition, if it has to go, it has to go. Perhaps we can emulate Catalonia’s approach to bullfighting to the parts of our culture that we need to change.


About ChinoFern

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32 Responses to In the News: Catalonia bans Bullfighting – Positive Cultural Change

  1. mel says:

    Good to hear that Bullfighting is finally banned. It caused a lot of harm and death, to both people and the bulls.

    Yes, culture can be changed when people will want it to be. After all, we are a civilized world. We cannot blindly continue with our false traditions.

    Sabong and other Fiesta activities involving animals (Pig Hunt, Dog Fight, etc.) should be banned in the Philippines. This country boast of its religiousity but many treat animals as objects of fun and recreation.

    Gandhi said: “Tell me how the country treat its animals, and I will tell you in what stage of civilization it is in.”

  2. Dr. José Rizal II says:

    If Cataluña and las islas Canarias can get rid of the centuries-old tradition of Bullfighting, then the Philippines can certainly get rid of only 50 or so years of those ugly trashcan-looking Jeepneys. Only if its people want to improve the Philippines, of course.

    • ChinoF says:

      Aside from jeepneys, thanks to what has been discussed below, what else can be get rid of that is “uniquely Filipino,” but is bad for us? Corruption is an obvious answer, but what else?

      Authoritarianism in the parenting style?
      The culture of “utang ng loob” or “trade of favors” as one commenter put it?
      The idea of “uniquely Filipino” as peasant culture with the removal of all foreign influences, primitivism with nothing modern?

      There sure is a lot we can change. The list can go on and on.

  3. bokyo says:

    What’s more, it is done by the Catalonia PARLIAMENT and some people says that the other major administrative bodies are considering these move.

    • Els Segadors says:

      Catalunya triomfant,tornarà a ser rica i plena.Endarrera aquesta genttan ufana i tan superba.

      Bon cop de falç,Bon cop de falç,Defensors de la terra!Bon cop de falç!

      Ara és hora, segadors.Ara és hora d’estar alerta.Per quan vingui un altre junyesmolem ben bé les eines.

      Bon cop de falç,Bon cop de falç,Defensors de la terra!Bon cop de falç!

      Que tremoli Espanyaen veient la nostra ensenya.Com fem caure espigues d’or,quan convé seguem cadenes.

      Bon cop de falç,Bon cop de falç,Defensors de la terra!Bon cop de falç!

  4. juanon says:

    Wait, what’s wrong with the Jeepney’s again?

    • ChinoF says:

      1. Never changed design since 19-kopong-kopong. Symbol of non-change, status quo.
      2. Poorly managed transport system (have to wait for jeep to fill up before going, time consuming)
      3. No handbrake
      4. Significant contribution to traffic slowdown (para here, para there, plus the immense numbers)

      I myself don’t feel we need to remove all jeepneys, but it certainly is an old and inefficient system. My late dad was a traffic specialist in the PC Highway Patrol/PNP Traffice Management Command, and he advocated phasing out the jeepneys.

      • juanon says:

        Ah right. I also googled it just now and I didn’t know it was this bad.

        My biggest grief with Jeepneys is #4, because I effing hate it when jeeps suddenly stop in the middle of the road or in an intersection especially during a greenlight just so they can get some more passengers. And I hate their usual excuse “censya na po, nagtratrabaho lang”. Really? You think you’re the only ones who are working here??

        Granted yeah I agree we can’t just get rid of all Jeepneys, because somehow it still has its advantages. I read this article stating that busses and trains should replace jeepneys but IMO that won’t work since jeepneys can access inner roads whereas busses and trains are mostly for main highways.

        Maybe a restructuring of the system will work.

      • ChinoF says:

        I would think restructuring could do it too. Jeepneys are better as tourist fare rather than our regular transport. We could replace the system with regular ferries, like that open ferry vehicle they use in Araneta Center Cubao.

        Still, setting up a good transport system is a challenge thanks to our dense metro population.

      • ChinoF says:

        Let me add:
        5. “Seating for 10!” Ten… fat people or thin people? That’s why jeepneys are sardine cans.
        6. They have to wait till it’s full to go. No time consciousness. Big delay. Completely inefficient.

    • mel says:

      Most of the politicians will not touch the issues of jeepneys and tricycles. Imagine the millions of voters they will lose come election day. The unemployment rate will also go up. Business permits for these public utility vehicles are given without quota to increase the local employment statistics.

      The same with Sari Sari Store owners. Work permits go with the business permits. Every five (5) meters, you will find a Sari Sari store, as if there is no business ideas other than Sari Sari store. And the owners keep complaining “mahina ang benta”!

      The same with the jeepney and tricycle drivers complaining “walang pasahero”.

      • ChinoF says:

        Imagine what would happen if we had foreign investors aplenty.

        People would probably give less hoot about culture change, because they have enough jobs and money. Besides, having enough rather than being in poverty will bring about a great deal of culture change! I guess that’s why it was easy to ban bullfighting in Catalonia. They could always look for other jobs or markets. Not like here. You’re stuck in one kind of job, and you know nothing else. Like the marble sculptors of Romblon.

  5. Jon Abaca says:

    You just had to pick the picture where the bull gets the matador in the crotch…

    Changing the culture is not going to be easy. People here are conditioned to follow. Then they condition people around them to follow.

    Cleaning up after eating with McDonalds is an example. In the US, people pick up their garbage and toss it in a waste bin, but here, people just leave their garbage on the table. When people actually do it, the staff react like they’ve seen a saint. Nobody still does it though. It’s apparently too much trouble.

    • ChinoF says:

      Hehehe, I thought of that picture for a little humor, and a sort of “in-your-arse” attitude towards those who are vehement tradition junkies.

      While it certainly is hard to challenge culture, just one person making the challenge is enough to get the ball rolling. It may not get the whole town going, but just a few making a hoot are enough to keep the momentum going. I’m sure that how Catalonians have done it. A few start it up, pretty soon, someone will pick up until it works on a big scale. That’s pretty much the concept behind AP.

  6. Hyden Toro says:

    I’ve witnessed Bullfighting, in Spain, many years ago. I had gone to the Bull Run, in Pamplona, Spain during the San Fermin Festival. This sport was not introduced by the Spanish Colonizers, in the Philippines. Brave Matadors, and pretty Spanish Senoritas. The Pageantry, the festivities; oh…how I loved them…

    The Catalonians banned the Sport. It’s their business. We have Cockfighting, also-it should be banned. Sabungeros and Pintakasi Kristos will be out of job.

    • juanon says:

      That’s because there was no bullfighting yet in Spain when Magellan first landed here. It was only introduced to Spain around 200 years after.

  7. t0da says:

    And not to mention that the jeepneys are terribly energy-inefficient. Bad for the environment.

    I also don’t understand those “aircon” jeepneys. Why? Why not just a van?

    • Mad Man says:

      Yeah, I remember reading a study decades ago that if you did the math, you’ll find out that the jeepney’s fuel consumption, passenger capacity and income doesn’t add up. In other words, buses make more money…

  8. noko says:

    jeepneys are cheap
    vans are plain expensive for the typical pinoy

    have some harmony

    • ChinoF says:

      Basically, jeepneys are an indirect result of poverty. If we were a more advanced country, jeepneys would be mere tourist rides, and not part of the main transport system.

    • t0da says:

      I think the Filipinos have romanticized the concept of the jeepney, but keeping it running in our streets is an untenable option. I don’t think poverty can be used as an excuse to maintain them. And my point was the “aircon” jeepney, a jeepney converted to have air-conditioning. I think those things must fail some kind of road safety test. Again, why not a van?

      As ChinoF has suggested, those things should be relegated to tourist rides, like the kalesa.

      Sorry off-topic.

    • ChinoF says:

      Whoa… Mad Man above says jeepneys are expensive to run when you do the math. They may be cheap to purchase but expensive to maintain… so much for “jeepneys are cheap.”

  9. Maikimai says:

    I think we should ban the Feast of the Black Nazarene and the Crucifixion reenactment. These traditions are dangerous and contradicting the Catholic faith(Idolatry, anyone?).

    • juanon says:

      That’s not idolatry. I’m a bit lazy to explain and show some reference on it right now, but the church has a valid explanation to how its not idolatry.

      Now the deaths and accidents during the Black Nazarene on the other hand, that’s one real problem.

      • ben says:

        Well the church is full of it… Sif it isn’t Idolatry.

      • ChinoF says:

        I’m of a Protestant orientation, where the 2nd Commandment is “you shall not worship graven images,” thus I would agree that image use is idolatry. But this is more of a personal orientation, depending on where you stand.

        Here, the main concern is not really the Nazarene image itself, but the procession and related practices. It’s that yearly January procession in Quiapo where people die. They get crushed by the procession wagon’s iron wheels, get trampled by stampedes, are mugged during the procession, get dehydrated or any other misfortune. Things could have been done like change the wagon to something with fenders that push people away (or build such fenders over the current wagon), have processions of several copies of the Nazarene so more people can touch their handkerchiefs to it (just convince the people that all images have Holy Power, hehehe, heck, even the image paraded in current processions is a duplicate since the original image has seriously deteriorated), or do away with the procession altogether, just have people come in different days to take a blessing from the Nazarene in the church. Basically, make some changes in the tradition. Mere riot control isn’t effective.

        Therewith is an example of a problematic culture, which focuses on how the practice of image worship has evolved in Philippine society, and the unwillingness to change it.

      • juanon says:

        “Therewith is an example of a problematic culture, which focuses on how the practice of image worship has evolved in Philippine society, and the unwillingness to change it.”

        In the Catholic religion, there are 3 kinds of worship:

        1) Latria – the adoration given to God alone. Giving this kind of worship to anyone else is a mortal sin and is the idolatry that the Catholic religion identifies.

        2) Hyperdulia – a special type of worship given to Mary as the mother of Jesus. It is not adoration as far as the Catholic church is concerned since it is just “reverence”.

        3) Dulia – same as 2 but for the saints and angels. Again it is just “reverence”.

        Not that I am attacking you and your religious beliefs Chino, and I respect other people’s religious beliefs. My point is, to where or what should we change the culture? Religious culture is a different case compared to bullfighting since there are so many variations and beliefs that its so hard to change to become fair to all concerned.

        To the Jews and Muslims, eating pork is bad. Should they go out of their way and tell the Catholics and Christians to follow their beliefs?

        To the Buddhists there is no afterlife, rather there is reincarnation. Should they go out of their way and tell the Abrahamic religions that they are wrong?

        To the Christians Christ is the Lord. Should they go out of their way and tell the Muslims to recognize Christ as their Lord as well?

        Not to mention, the bullfight issue is just under one government body so its easy to come up with a decision. Religions on the other hand are represented by different leaders.

        So I think the best way to reach a middle ground in the religious culture issue is that, IMO, all religions should follow the dogma “to each his own”. Unless of course if that religion’s culture is literally damaging/hurting people concerned and/or robbing those people of their human rights.

      • ChinoF says:

        Yes, I agree that is apparently different from bullfighting in involving organized religion. So on “to each his own,” I’m fine with that. I just hope that some zealots would stop trying to make the whole Philippines follow their religious principles (ex. “Philippines should be a Catholic country”), and not edge their agenda into the politics. Like the stand on the RH Bill.

      • GabbyD says:

        ditto on the deaths. thats needless.

      • Mad Man says:

        Do American Catholics also have those dangerous processions and other hardcore Catholic practices? I’m a Catholic but what is it with Filipinos? They take something as beautiful as Catholicism and turn it into something really ugly by introducing into the faith these weird and redundant things. I guess the lesson here is: whatever we Filipinos touch always turn into mud.

        Take for instance them PCOS voting machines, it’s quite a techno marvel but when Filipinos started using it, it became an instrument for cheating and fraud. I heard Australia contracted Smartmatic for their machines, but nothing bad happened.

        Ok, let us go back to the evils of bullfighting…

  10. ako ang simula ng pagkabobo says:

    just in case they are planning to put up a shrine at Hacienda Luisita for Saint Corazon Aquino, I’m willing to donate some amount.

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