Read in Catalan

The Spanish minister of culture, Ernest Urtasun, has this Wednesday presented the Spanish government's Gold Medal of Merit of Fine Arts to the Ganadería Miura, one of the best known breeders of fighting bulls in Andalusia. The awards ceremony took place in Cádiz, where the left-wing minister was accompanied by the Spanish king and queen, Felipe VI and Letizia, who did not want to miss this annual event, at which Andalusian politicians such as the autonomous community's president, Juanma Moreno, also participated. Urtasun, who has always identified himself as opposed to bullfighting, has described the activity as "sadistic and despicable", and has signed manifestos against it, faced a storm of criticism from Spain's bullfighting industry when he was appointed as culture minister in November 2023, but the delivery of this important award proves otherwise. The Catalan politician, who is also spokesperson for the leftist Sumar platform, greeted the bull breeders Antonio and Eduardo Miura and applauded when they went on stage to collect the award, which was given to them by queen Letizia.

Praise from the Spanish government during the Iceta era

It should be borne in mind that it was during the watch of the previous culture minister Miquel Iceta that it was decided to award the "fine arts" medal to Miura, along with 31 other personalities and entities, among which the singer-songwriter Víctor Manuel and the singer María Jiménez stand out, the latter having received the award posthumously. At the time, the Spanish government set out these reasons for awarding the prize to the Miura fighting bull breed: "It is probably the most legendary [name] in the history of bullfighting. Especially noteworthy is the breed's fidelity to its origins, since, throughout its almost bicentennial trajectory, it has invariably maintained an exceptional role, associated with values such as bravura, emotion and the beauty of the fighting bull".

Debate in the Senate

The aversion that Urtasun feels to the world of bulls, as he himself has expressed, provoked criticism from the sector, after the decision to place him at the head of the culture ministry, since Sumar, the party for which he is the spokesperson, includes the suppression of public funding for shows involving animal deaths in its policy manifesto. From the conservative People's Party (PP), in a Senate question session, Juan Manuel Ávila reminded the minister that bullfighting is regulated in Spain as "cultural heritage worthy of protection". In turn, the minister affirmed that there is a majority of Spaniards who are increasingly "more sensitive to animal rights and who do not agree with their mistreatment". The PP demanded that Urtastun be disavowed from speaking about the bullfighting world due to his lack of knowledge: "You have no authority to speak badly of the fiesta or to make decisions on it", they reprimanded him.