MADRID: For centuries the symbol of Iberian machismo, the bullfight is to be demoted from daytime and early evening viewing on Spain's two state-owned TVE channels. Henceforth it will be confined to late night schedules.

TVE claims that recent restrictions on what can be aired during children's viewing times make it increasingly difficult to schedule a live fight.

Although the code does not specifically mention animals or bullfights, it forbids showing children "explicitly violent scenes".

Given that TVE is the nation's most-watched channel, the decision has met with widespread criticism, many seeing it as capitulation to the anti-bullfight lobby.

However, blood and sand aficionados will continue to enjoy their gory fix on other channels, as the bullfight remains popular programming with many of the nation's cable and satellite TV providers.

Data sourced from GuardianUnlimited (UK); additional content by WARC staff