LONDON � Spain's iconic sport, bullfighting, is known for its ferocity and flair. But the centuries-old spectacle may have met its match in an equally tenacious opponent: Europe's animal rights movement. For the first time Thursday, doping tests were introduced at Spain's most prestigious bullfighting festival after allegations that bulls are given drugs to tip the balance in favor of the matador. Under pressure and falling ratings, Spanish TV has dropped bullfighting from its schedule.
The increasingly vocal anti-bullfighting lobby says it's only a matter of time before the sport is relegated to the history books.
"People in Europe are finally beginning to accept the animal welfare message," said Kate Fowler-Reeves, head of campaigns for Animal Aid, the UK's largest animal rights group.
These are heady days for Europe's animal rights activists, who have successfully pushed through a string of animal welfare measures in recent months.