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Spain's mainland region Catalonia 'bans bullfighting'

Catalonia has become Spain's first mainland region to ban bullfighting following a campaign by animal rights activists.

Lawmakers in the powerful, wealthy region with its own language and culture imposed the ban on bullfighting after a much heated debate that pitted the rights of animals against preserving a pillar of traditional culture.

Cheers broke out in the local 135-seat legislature after the Speaker announced the ban had passed 68-to-55 with nine abstentions. The ban in the northeastern coastal region including Barcelona will take effect in 2012, leading British newspaper'The Daily Telegraph'reported.

The centre-right Popular Party, which is fervent about the idea of Spain as a unified country run from Madrid, and also supports bullfighting, said it's considering filing suit to overturn the ban.

However, the practical effect of the ban will be limited as Catalonia has only one functioning bullring in Barcelona and it stages 15 fights a year which are rarely sold out, out of a nationwide total of some 1,000 bouts per season.

Still, bullfighting buffs and Spanish conservatives have taken the drama very seriously, seeing a stinging anti- Spanish rebuke in the grassroots, anti-bullfighting drive which started last year.
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