Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics

, Volume 30, Issue 6, pp 809–826 | Cite as

Animal Welfare, National Identity and Social Change: Attitudes and Opinions of Spanish Citizens Towards Bullfighting

  • Gustavo A. María
  • Beatriz Mazas
  • Francisco J. Zarza
  • Genaro C. Miranda de la LamaEmail author


Traditionally, in Spain bullfighting represents an ancient and well-respected tradition and a combined brand of sport, art and national identity. However, bullfighting has received considerable criticism from various segments of society, with the concomitant rise of the animal rights movement. The paper reports a survey of the Spanish citizens using a face-to-face survey during January 2016 with a total sample of 2522 citizens (1256 men and 1266 women). The survey asked about degree of liking and approving; culture, art and national identity; socio-economic aspects; emotional perception and animal welfare. The hypothesis proposed that the perception of bullfights may be affected by gender, age, occupation, origin and nationality of the persons surveyed. The hypothesis was confirmed. The majority of citizens surveyed do not like bullfights and great majorities do not attend or watch such events. Two extreme clusters were described: one representing favorable attitude towards bullfighting and other against bullfighting. The proportion of indifferent persons was important. Women and young people showed a more favorable attitude towards animal welfare issues associated with these events. Rural people were more accepting bullfights than urban people. Students were more anti-bullfight than those in other occupations. Additionally, technical economic factors made people favor more bullfights. The growth of claim against bullfights establishes an element of a far more multifaceted phenomenon that animal cruelty per se and support of a new paradigm called social change in countries as Spain.


Citizens attitudes Bullfighting Animal welfare Social change National identity Spain 



We wish to acknowledge the people who answered the questionnaire. We acknowledge Proof-Reading-Service, Julie Cohen and Morris Villarroel-Robinson for the English revision of the manuscript, as well as the former vet practitioner of the Zaragoza bullfighting arena, Dr. DVM J. M. Blasco, for his valuable counseling on BF and for his broadmindedness.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Animal Production and Food Science, Faculty of Veterinary MedicineUniversity of ZaragozaSaragossaSpain
  2. 2.Department of Didactics of Experimental ScienceUniversity of ZaragozaSaragossaSpain
  3. 3.Personal and Professional Development GroupUniversity of ZaragozaSaragossaSpain
  4. 4.Laboratory of Sustainable Livestock Production, Department of Food ScienceMetropolitan Autonomous UniversityLermaMexico

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