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In more than 30 southern Catalan towns, especially in the Delta del'Ebre area (a low, flat, rice-growing area around the broad delta of the Ebro river), a distinctly Catalan tradition that involves turning bulls into a spectacle (albeit without killing them) remains in place, protected by its status as a local tradition.

In the correbous (bull running), bulls are chased around town with flaming torches attached to their horns (bous embolats) or have heavy ropes wrapped around each horn (bous capllaçats), which are then pulled in opposite directions by two groups of young men in a kind of tug-of-war. The bulls are subsequently taken to the slaughterhouse. These spectacles generally take place on town feast days, mostly between July and September. Among the most important take place around mid-August in towns such as Amposta, Deltebre, Ulldecona and Corbera d'Ebre.

Further information

The World Society for the Protection of Animals has plenty of information on campaigns to end bullfighting and links to Spanish organisations like the Asociación Defensa Derechos Animal (ADDA). Some would argue that bullfights need to be experienced to be better understood. For information on fights in Barcelona in 2011, which will be the last season, and bullfighting in Barcelona in general, look up www.torosbarcelona.com (in Spanish only). To see what the correbous are about, find out about the annual festivities in one of the southern Catalan towns that celebrate them. The Festes Majors of Amposta in mid-August are among the most important and feature several days of correbous. For details, see the Amposta municipal website (in Catalan).

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© Lonely Planet. All rights reserved. The article ‘Bullfighting in Catalonia: to ban or not to ban’ was published in partnership with www.lonelyplanet.com.

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