Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Attempts to end bullfighting subsidy in Europe

Posted: 3 December 2014. Updated: 15 December 2014


While Members of the European Parliament debated the budget for the coming year in Strasbourg on 22nd October they had the opportunity to end the subsidy of almost €130 million given to the bullfighting industry through payments made under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

A proposal to stop the subsidy was introduced by Dutch Green MEP Bas Eickhout and although agreed by the European Parliament Environment Committee it was rejected by the Budget Committee, but subsequently reintroduced providing MEPs with the opportunity to vote on the measure.

Although the majority of MEPs expressing an opinion backed the proposal European Parliament rules mean that a majority of total MEPs was needed. Due to abstentions, this was not achieved and so the proposal was rejected.

The EU’s own regulations on animals kept for farming state that Member States should ensure that owners or keepers take all reasonable steps to ensure the welfare of animals under their care; also that they ensure that the animals are not caused any unnecessary pain, suffering or injury. The rules allow farmers who are breeding animals to be used in bullfighting to claim subsidies under the CAP.

The popularity of bullfighting has fallen dramatically over the past decade. Attendances fell by 40 per cent between 2008 and 2013. In 2008 Spain held 3,295 bullfights but in 2012 the figure had fallen to 1,997, with reports suggesting that the number will continue to fall . Countries around the world are moving away from bullfighting, with bans already in place including Argentina, Canada, Cuba, Denmark, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. It is also banned in the Canary Islands and Catalan regions of Spain.

You can see a breakdown of how MEPs in your country voted and the results by political grouping in the European Parliament here

Since the vote MPs at Westminster have tabled Early Day Motion 485 which describes bullfighting as “abhorrent as it involves the torture of animals in public display, a practice which flies in the face of Britain’s own Animal Welfare Act 2006 and of the European Convention on animals kept for farming purposes” and calls on the UK Government to immediately cease making payments to the CAP.

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