Actor Pamela Anderson has written to Spanish senators asking them to reject a bill that aims to protect the dwindling pastime of bullfighting.

The measure, which is currently under consideration in the Senado de España, would grant the archaic “sport” cultural heritage status.

“I very much enjoyed my visit to Spain last month, but I was shocked to learn from PETA that the government is considering a law to protect and promote bullfighting," she wrote. "Argentina, Ecuador, and Colombia—as well as many towns in Spain—have all banned bullfighting, and more countries are moving in that direction.

“Spain is a modern country with a wealth of treasures—art, architecture, and music, to name just a few—which is why many people from around the world enjoy visiting it and experiencing its rich heritage. But in 2013, in an otherwise civilized society, seeking to continue the gratuitous slaughter of sentient animals is perverse.

“I have spent my career entertaining people, but I know that there is nothing remotely entertaining about stabbing bulls to death in bullfighting arenas. Despite the history of bullfighting in Spain, times and sensibilities have changed, and millions of Spanish citizens have signed petitions to ban bullfighting across the country. In fact, 76 percent of Spaniards say that they have no interest in bullfighting, according to a recent poll.

“Tormenting bulls for entertainment belongs to the Dark Ages, not the 21st century. Please take a compassionate stance against this cruel pastime by rejecting the bill to protect bullfighting. I guarantee that you will win the hearts, including mine, of citizens around the world.”

A coalition of five animal-protection organisations – Humane Society International, World Society for the Protection of Animals, CAS International, League Against Cruel Sports and PETA – as well as the platform Torture Is Not Culture is also encouraging senators to oppose this move to protect bullfighting. In September, the coalition presented its #LoveSpainHateBullfights petition, which attracted more than 250,000 signatures from more than 135 countries, to politicians in Madrid.

Bullfighting is a business in decline in Spain and elsewhere as people distance themselves from this cruel and archaic pastime. Public pressure led the Association of British Travel Agents, which is responsible for 90 per cent of UK foreign holiday packages, to launch its first animal welfare charter, which describes bullfights and bull-running fiestas as “unacceptable practices”, and all major British tour operators have now removed any promotions of bullfighting and fiestas.

A 2013 Ipsos MORI poll of Spanish citizens shows that more than three-quarters of the Spanish population also oppose having their taxes used to support bullfighting.

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