Spanish region bans bullfights, not other events

MADRID — Run with the bulls, let them tumble into the sea during the chase, even stick fireworks or flaming wax to their horns — but don't kill them. That's the line legislators in northeastern Spain drew Wednesday between protecting animals and upholding national traditions.

The Catalonia region, which includes Barcelona, banned bullfighting in July, but many other bull-related traditions in which the animals are not killed continue there. Wednesday's bill, overwhelmingly approved by the regional parliament, was widely seen as a way to enshrine the customs, regulate them for the first time and buffer them against pressure to do away with them.

Defenders of the events heaved a sigh of relief, saying they are far removed from the bloodshed of actual bullfights.

In Catalonia, bull-related traditions include "correbous," which involves attaching short sticks with flaming balls of wax or fireworks to bulls' horns, then letting the animals run around a bull ring or plaza and chase people. After a while, the fire is put out and the bulls are led back to their pens.

In another version, the bulls chase human daredevils on platforms by seaside marinas and plunge into the water. People in boats lead the bulls back onto ground and back onto the platform for another go at it.