Bullfighting ban begins in Catalonia

(CNN) - The curtain has come down on a long tradition in Spain as the region of Catalonia hosted its last bullfight Sunday.

Bullfighting is a sport that for many has come to symbolize Spain, but Catalonia's regional government voted last year to ban the practice on the grounds that it is cruel and outdated.

Critics of bullfighting hail the vote as a victory for animal rights.

"We Catalonians don't want bull fighting anymore, and finally, it is over," one resident said.

Supporters said bullfighting is an art form that represents Spanish culture and should be preserved. They hope to overturn the ban on constitutional grounds.  

"I think it is terrible to ban bullfighting here because it represents the culture of our country," one supporter said. "Why do we have to ban bullfighting here in Catalonia when it is permitted in the rest of Spain?"  

In recent years, attendance has been down at the famous "La Monumental" bullring due to bullfighting's declining popularity among young people. But tickets for Sunday's finale sold out.  

Jose Tomas, Spain's most popular matador, was the final bullfighter on the bill.

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