Travel firm removes 'offensive' matador


THE MATADOR – one of the most abiding and traditional images of Spain – has been removed from advertising by a leading Irish travel company following a protest by animal rights activists.

The Travel Department confirmed that it had used a photograph of a bullfighter in a newspaper advertisement for a holiday in Spain. The ad was seen by the Irish Council Against Blood Sports which contacted the company to object and the company agreed to withdraw the image from its marketing material.

A spokesman for the tour operator said that the image was “part of a library of stock images” of Spain that were used for print and online media advertising. He said it had not “consciously” used “the iconic image” and stressed that visits to bullfights were not included in its itineraries.

He confirmed that the image would not be used again because the company was “conscious that there are people who object to bullfighting” and it “would not want to offend people’s sensitivities”.

In the latest edition of its Animal Voicenewsletter, the Irish Council Against Blood Sports said it was “ grateful” for the company’s “positive and swift response”.

The Spanish Tourist Office in Dublin yesterday also confirmed that it does not use “any image associated with bullfighting” in its advertising. A spokeswoman said they “never use images” featuring a corrida (bullfight) or a matador because “it’s a sensitive matter” and an activity which some people dislike.

However, she said that the office would “direct” tourists to the relevant “web page” if they requested information about bullfighting.

Last week, the Irish Council Against Blood Sports successfully lobbied to prevent the charity Goal from accepting a donation from bookmakers’ Boylesports.

The “significant” sum had been raised from sponsored “charity bets” at the Irish Coursing Club’s annual meeting in Clonmel, Co Tipperary. Goal later agreed that it would, after all, accept the money for its relief work in Haiti following the earthquake.

Goal’s change of heart came too late as Boylesports had by then chosen an alternative charity, the Retired Greyhound Trust.