Bullfights back on Spanish public TV after ban

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MADRID -- Bullfights return live to Spanish state TV this evening, six years after the fights were banned from the widely watched public channel

Bullfighters are waiving payments demanded in better economic times for the right to broadcast their battles, a decision that helped Spain's new austerity-minded conservative government in its drive to get the fights back on national TV and promote bullfighting as important cultural heritage.

The RTVE broadcast from the northern city of Valladolid is a big victory for pro-bullfighting forces that saw bullfighting banned altogether this year in the northeastern region of Catalonia; it's a defeat for animal rights activists who claim bullfighting is barbaric.

The transmissions were halted in 2006 by Spain's previous Socialist administration, which said they were costly and coincided with key TV viewing hours for young children.

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