Friday's motion, approved 67-59, still faces a final vote next year before the ban could become law.
Bullfighting has become increasingly controversial in Spain and a ban in Catalonia makes it more likely bullfighting eventually will be banned throughout the country, said animal rights activist Leonardo Anselmi.
"We think this will be the beginning of the end for this cruel spectacle," Anselmi told The Times of London in a story reported Saturday.
Others, however, including Spanish artist Miquel Barcelo and theater director Calixto Bieito, believe bullfighting should remain, said Luis Corrales, a spokesman for the campaign to keep bullfighting.
It is "a cultural reality, a festival, a tradition, a part of the economy," Corrales said.