Spain Abolishes National Bullfighting Award in Cultural Shift

Spanish bullfighter Juan Ortega fights the 528kg bull 'Vivaracho' bull during a bullfight in the Plaza Monumental of Aguascalientes, in Aguascalientes, Mexico, 28 April 2024.  EPA/Tadeo Alcina
Spanish bullfighter Juan Ortega fights the 528kg bull 'Vivaracho' bull during a bullfight in the Plaza Monumental of Aguascalientes, in Aguascalientes, Mexico, 28 April 2024. EPA/Tadeo Alcina
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Spain Abolishes National Bullfighting Award in Cultural Shift

Spanish bullfighter Juan Ortega fights the 528kg bull 'Vivaracho' bull during a bullfight in the Plaza Monumental of Aguascalientes, in Aguascalientes, Mexico, 28 April 2024.  EPA/Tadeo Alcina
Spanish bullfighter Juan Ortega fights the 528kg bull 'Vivaracho' bull during a bullfight in the Plaza Monumental of Aguascalientes, in Aguascalientes, Mexico, 28 April 2024. EPA/Tadeo Alcina

Spain scrapped an annual bullfighting award on Friday, prompting a rebuke from conservatives over a backlash against a centuries-old tradition they see as an art form but which has run into growing concern for animal welfare.
Spanish-style bullfighting, in which the animal usually ends up killed by a sword thrust by a matador in shining garb, is for supporters a cultural tradition to be preserved, while critics call it a cruel ritual with no place in modern society, Reuters reported.
The Culture Ministry said it based its decision to abolish the award on the "new social and cultural reality in Spain" where worries about animal welfare have risen while attendance at most bullrings has declined.
"I think that's the feeling of a majority of Spaniards who can understand less and less why animal torture is practiced in our country..., and much less why that torture gets awarded with public money," Culture Minister Ernest Urtasun said on X.
The national award came in the form of a 30,000-euro ($32,217) government check and has been bestowed on famous bullfighters such as Julian Lopez, known as "El Juli", or cultural associations related to the bullfighting tradition.
It has recently become a defining issue in Spain's culture wars, pitting left-wing parties such as Sumar, to which Urtasun belongs, against right-wing conservatives who support the tradition.
Borja Semper, spokesperson for the opposition conservative People's Party, told reporters the government move showed that it "does not believe in cultural diversity or liberty", and that his party would reinstate the award whenever it regained power.
The PP leader of the Aragon region, Jorge Azcon, said it would introduce another award. "Tradition should be something that unites us rather than divides," he said.
Opposition to bullfighting has also grown in Latin America, where the tradition was exported in the 16th century, and in southern France, where it spread in the 19th century.
In Spain, the average bullfighting aficionado has gotten older and the number of bullfighting festivals dropped by a third between 2010 and 2023.



Culinary Arts Commission to Participate in 'Taste London' Exhibition in June

Culinary Arts Commission to Participate in 'Taste London' Exhibition in June
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Culinary Arts Commission to Participate in 'Taste London' Exhibition in June

Culinary Arts Commission to Participate in 'Taste London' Exhibition in June

The Saudi Culinary Arts Commission will participate in the 'Taste London' food festival and exhibition for the second consecutive time.
The event, scheduled from June 12 to 16 in London, will serve as a platform to showcase the rich and diverse culture of Saudi culinary arts globally and involve Saudi chefs in international forums.
The commission, a key partner in this international event, will present the unique flavours and traditions of Saudi Arabia under the slogan 'A Taste of Saudi Culture,' SPA reported.

Its national pavilion will be a hub of activity, featuring live cooking demonstrations of authentic Saudi dishes by talented Saudi chefs, a beverage maker's area showcasing the richness of Saudi drinks, and a product store promoting culinary arts books, packaged products such as dates, spices, and coffee cups, as well as handicrafts and souvenirs. A hospitality tent will serve renowned Saudi coffee and host engaging sessions for festival visitors.
The commission's participation in the Taste London exhibition for the second time is not only an opportunity for visitors of various nationalities to discover Saudi culinary arts and dishes but also a testament to Saudi culture's global reach and influence.
The goal is to provide an exceptional experience, allowing them to learn about Saudi culture through artisanal products, enhance the international status of Saudi food, and enable Saudi chefs to showcase their skills externally.
This participation also reflects the commission's unwavering commitment to promoting international cultural exchange as part of the goals of the National Strategy for Culture under the Kingdom's Vision 2030.