Catalan government backs fiery bull fiestas

Controversial practice will be allowed if historical significance can be proven

In a decision seen as contradictory by animal rights activists, the Catalan government appears to want to give the green light to towns to continue celebrating the so-called correbous - an event to celebrate patron saint festivals where fireworks are attached to a bull's horns.

The Catalan CiU nationalist bloc government has come up with a bill containing new rules for the correbous, which it has sent out to other parliamentary groups. The CiU was one of the regional parties that joined the successful battle to prohibit bullfighting in Catalonia.

According to a draft of the bill, a town can organize a correbous if they can demonstrate that the tradition has played a part of its historic celebrations for at least 50 years.