Bullfighting: A barbaric and outdated practice, say MEPs

MEPs have voted to end EU subsidies to bullfighting, and now they want to put an end to the controversial sport.

By Julie Levy-Abegnoli

18 Nov 2015

Considered by some a staple of Spanish culture, bullfighting is perhaps one of Europe's most controversial spectacles, strongly condemned by animal welfare activists. Last month, MEPs voted to stop subsidies to farmers who specifically breed bulls for bullfights, who had, up until now, been receiving EU funds.

The amendment was tabled by Parliament's Greens/EFA group, whose members were, unsurprisingly, pleased with its adoption. Treasurer Bas Eickhout notes that, "the European convention for the protection of animals kept for farming is clear - animals should not suffer pain, injury, fear or distress."

"It's also clear that farmers who breed and raise bulls for bullfighting do not comply with these conditions. Therefore, these farmers should not be eligible for agricultural subsidies."



His colleague Keith Taylor adds that, "bullfighting is a barbaric and outdated practice, that continues to lose support, including from those living in the countries where it takes place such as Spain, Portugal and France."

"It may be a long-standing tradition, but in this day and age and with everything we know about animals and their ability to suffer, this so-called 'sport' should be brought to an end immediately."

"Animals are sentient beings - something that the EU recognises through the Lisbon treaty. Therefore, it is unacceptable that tens of thousands of bulls are maimed, tortured and killed in these needless fights."

"Bullfighting should not be supported by public money, be that funds from national and local government, or European payments."

"Not only do these payments prop up a controversial activity and fly in the face of EU commitments on animal welfare, but millions of euros are diverted from deserving programmes. That's why I fully welcome Parliament's call to stop EU money being used to prop up the bullfighting industry."

The amendment enjoyed cross-party support, with ECR deputy Rikke Karlsson saying, "does the EU not have better things to do with public money than finance cruelty? Raising bulls for bullfighting should not be subsidised by European taxpayers."

"Any spectacle during which animals are purposefully maimed and killed is disgraceful. In fact, it's wrong to talk about ancient traditions - until the end of the 19th century, there were no killings in bullfighting."


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