Seville, Lorna Thompson
Spain by far is the most popular foreign holiday destination, with millions visiting resorts each year, often to order egg and chips when they get there! The home of endless sunshine and sangria is one of Europe’s biggest countries, and home to the world’s second-most-common language on earth. Hardly anybody visits church (contrary to opinion although most identify as Catholic) and only people in Valencia eat plant-based paella (Domestic Gothess).
take a stroll down las ramblas
The beautiful city of Barcelona is also one of the greenest. As well as the main tree-lined street being carfree, it’s full of bike lanes and litter bins. This (and Madrid) are also two of Europe’s most vegan-friendly cities. The most visited city in Spain (which was offered the Eiffel Tower before Paris) also has beautiful beaches. So if you want a more climate-friendly alternative to Miami (Spanish architecture, sandy shores and hot weather), this is a good bet for a holiday!
green politics in Spain
Rather than one Green Party, the small eco parties in Spain have merged for greater collective power to make a difference. Spain even has an animal welfare party. It’s recently been in the news, asking authorities to ban Las Luminarias festival, which walks terrified horses (who are naturally scared of fire) through large bonfires, in honour of St Antionius (a Catholic patron saint of animals?) It’s heartening that we have wonderful Spanish humans at the forefront of creating a new kinder generation.
(most) Spaniards are kind to animals
Henry the Highland bull! (Lucy Pittaway)
Bullfights are mostly financed by UK and USA tourist companies, who advertise them as part of the package. What many tourists don’t know is that if they visit and support the ‘running of the bulls’ (where people get chased by bulls for fun – that evening, those same animals are killed in the bullfight arena). Although we tend to associate Spain with cruelty to animals, in fact there are many animal welfare societies and many cities have banned bullfights in recent years.
Since 2022, animals have been regarded as sentient beings, and there are even laws for joint custody of pets, for couples who separate. The law is controversial as it includes great things like banning cockfighting (legal until now on the Canary Islands and Andalucia) and animal circuses (and making free online training for dog guardians compulsory, along with liability insurance to deter irresponsible ownership). But it excludes working and hunting dogs (greyhound galgos have been found hanged from trees, if they don’t bring back enough kills).
- Don’t have photos taken with wild animals (monkeys are often removed from mothers and have teeth removed so they can’t bite).
- Don’t accept rides on animals (donkeys, camels, horses). Many horses on roads get spooked and suffer injuries in car accidents.
- Boycott bullfights (send complaint letters to tour operators).
- Report abuse at zoos & circuses. Give details (photos if possible) to local shelters, the police, tour operator, Freedom for Animals & Born Free.
music break: Malagueña
This song is very familiar (you’ll know it when you hear it!) Lucas is actually Brazilian, but it’s a wonderful rendition of a song that is often used as the music for flamenco dancers. Olé!