BARCELONA, Spain, July 28 (UPI) -- Lawmakers in the Spanish region of Catalonia decided Wednesday to become the first region to bring down the curtain on the controversial sport of bullfighting.
Catalonia's regional assembly voted 68-55 with nine abstentions in favor of a law banning the practice, The New York Times reported.
Jose Ramon Mallen, a representative of a Spanish animal rights organization, hailed the vote as a victory for the Spanish people.
"This is not about politics and Catalan identity but about ethics and showing that it is simply wrong to enjoy watching an animal getting killed in public," he said.
The ban doesn't go into effect until January 2012 in order to allow time for the industry to reorganize itself.
The vote to end bullfighting began with a public initiative more than a year ago, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Lawmakers heard emotional speeches about tradition and institutionalized cruelty before voting to put an end to the sport.