With our farmers having their grants cut by the Common Agricultural Policy, did you know that EU funds subsidise bull-fighting? Do you want your taxes to pay for this “blood-sport”?

On the 4th July the Dutch Parliament unanimously adopted a resolution against EU subsidies that support the Spanish bullfighting industry. Initiated by the Dutch Party for Animals, this move sends a timely signal towards the Spanish Parliament, which is currently debating whether to award bullfighting the status of intangible cultural heritage. If Spain vote to grant bullfighting Intangible Cultural Heritage status, this would mean more public funding for the bullfighting industry and the promotion of bullfighting to young children. Furthermore, it would threaten the regional bans on bullfighting in Catalonia and in the Canary Islands.

In a report issued earlier this year, it was estimated that the Spanish bullfighting industry receive approximately €130 million annually from EU tax payers via subsidies under the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy.

Bullfighting is one of the most cruel forms of animal abuse. Every year, more than 250,000 bulls and cows are tortured and killed worldwide during bullfights and similar events. Also during fiestas (‘village festivals’), tens of thousands of bulls and other animals are severely maltreated. Spain’s attempts to give bull-fighting ‘special cultural status’ is a disastrous move for the Spanish economy, Spanish tourist industry and animal welfare, say Care for the Wild International. Philip Mansbridge, CEO of the wildlife charity said:

This is a horrendously misjudged backwards step. Inside Spain there might be a feeling among some people that bullfighting is part of the culture, but outside Spain, the rest of the world is looking on and wondering how such an appalling, cruel spectacle can be allowed to continue. The Spanish economy is in dire straits, so tourism is vital to the nation. But we know through our work on animals in tourism that people are already saying that they won’t go to a country that supports this kind of animal abuse.

Keith Taylor MEP, Green Party (UK) has also said:

I have read about the horrors of the Pamplona running and bullfighting and the tremendous suffering that is endured by each bull involved in these events. It is extremely upsetting and no animal should have to experience this cruelty, especially in the name of so-called entertainment…I believe that bullfighting flies in the face of EU commitments on animal welfare.

And on this webpage, Toros and Taxes, it is said that:

“Bullfighting is heavily subsidized both by funds from the Spanish administrations and by European funds. Without such backing, this recreational activity would probably be on the brink of financial collapse and unable to subsist. We reckon that no less than €571 million are spent annually by different tiers of Spanish authorities, and no less than €129·6 million by the European Union – in this case, basically through Common Agricultural Policy programs. Both these amounts are minimum sums, derived from conservative assessments.”

The EU is committed to animal welfare. It’s time to stop supporting this cruelty and end subsidies for farms rearing fighting bulls. Agricultural subsidies should be used to help farmers produce food, not to satisfy an outdated and abhorrent animal sacrifice.

Not only is this activity barbaric, it is yet another misuse of public funds that UKIP needs to expose.

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