State-run Spanish TV has quietly dropped live coverage of bullfighting, ending a decades-old tradition of showcasing the national pastime on grounds that the deadly duel between matador and beast is too violent for young viewers.
For the first time since Television Espanola began airing on a trial basis in 1948 - its very first broadcast was in fact a bullfight in Madrid - there have been no live bullfights shown on state-run channels, just taped highlights on a late-night program for aficionados.
In practical terms, the unpublicized decision by the Socialist government is largely symbolic. Of the hundreds of bullfights that fill the March-October calendar each season, state-run TV only tended to broadcast about a dozen anyway. Pay TV channels and stations owned by regional governments are full of bullfights.
Still, many in the bullfighting world are livid, as is the conservative opposition, over a move they see as slighting a cherished piece of Spanish culture.
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