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Future of Bullfighting In Doubt

Bullfighting was facing an uncertain future in Spain yesterday with the announcement that the last bullring in Barcelona is to close after failing to draw enough spectators.

The rising cost of mounting a spectacle that a growing number of Spaniards view as a cruel and unnecessary part of their culture has forced the promoters of the Monumental Plaza de Toros to cut their losses and look for alternatives uses for the ring.

The company which owns the bullring admitted that the falling number of spectators meant that it lost more than �16,000 each time it held a bullfight.

The closure next year of the last bullring in Catalonia's capital city follows that of two others in recent years - one of which is being transformed into a shopping centre designed by Lord Rogers of Riverside.

Promoters across Spain have seen their profits fall as it becomes ever-more expensive to stage the events. The Spanish Union of Fighting Bull Breeders estimates that it can cost more than �70,000 to stage a corrida with a big- name bullfighter.

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