How EU taxpayers are funding the torture of bulls

How EU taxpayers are funding the torture of bulls

A few weeks ago our Spanish counterparts, PACMA, informed us of the sad news that ‘Torture del Toro de la Vega’ will remain a “Tourist Festival”. This is the decision made by the Tourism Council of the Junta de Castilla y León in answer to the demands of PACMA to withdraw the festival’s documentation. The council claims ‘the originality of the celebration, the popular tradition and cultural value’ are reasons for the festival to continue. PACMA says this is “another reflection of the level of moral corruption of the politicians who govern us.”

Last week, Spain’s Secretary of State for Telecommunications rejected PACMA’s complaint against TVE for broadcasting bullfights before the watershed, in family time, when children are likely to be watching TV. 

In this piece, AWP explores how British taxpayers are currently funding the bullfighting subsidies that go towards sending these animals to their violent deaths.

How EU taxpayers are funding the torture of bulls

Farmers who rear bulls for bull-fighting receive around an estimated €129.6 million in aid every year through the Common Agriculture Policy. Although nearly all of these subsidies go to farmers in Spain, they are funded by taxpayers from across Europe. That includes you.

Following the 2008 banking crisis, millions of people continue to find themselves in continuing financial difficulties and the European Government is attempting to justify cuts in budgets to vital areas such as education, health and development aid to people in developing countries. Yet, at the same time, money is still being pumped into funding the barbarism of bullfighting in Europe. It’s a situation that would likely strike most people as ridiculous and wholly unacceptable.

In the past, the EU has tried to distance itself from such issues by arguing they are a matter for the member state. But is that position justifiable when taxpayers from non-member states are having to fund such subsidies? Absolutely not.

Bull-fights are notorious for their cruelty to the animals involved. But what about their effects on the humans that watch them?

For a while, we’ve been aware of the evidence that suggests that people who enjoy deliberately harming animals are likely to become violent to other people, especially women and children.

But what is now emerging is evidence that even those who enjoy the spectacle of violence may go on to become violent to the people around them. Is it right then for us to be forced to fund such violent activities?

And is it sensible for the images of such violence to be beamed into the homes of millions of  children in Spain – a country where domestic violence remains rife and where around 700 women have been killed in such cases over the past 10 years?

We believe that, for most people, the answer is no. EU citizens must not be forced to fund these cruel spectacles. The EU must to take action to stop these subsidies immediately.

The Animal Welfare Party would lobby the European Commission and other key politicians to immediately ban subsidies given for bull fighting. We would lobby the British government to protest to the EU about such subsidies, as the Dutch government has done already, and mobilise the media to publicise this misuse of taxpayers money.

If you feel you want to protest to your MP and European MPs now, then you may wish to mention that this issue has been brought to your attention by the Animal Welfare Party who will stand in the European Parliament elections on 22nd May.

Below is a list of some of the fiestas that European taxpayers’ money is going to support: (please note, graphic video footage and images):

1. From 21 to 30 September in Algemesi, a hundred baby bulls are dragged away from their mothers to be tortured by groups of young men. Sign the petition against the Algemesi Bullfights.
2. In mid-August, in a village called Villalpando Zamora, the festival of San Roque is celebrated. On the last Sunday, three bulls are let out in the field. Participants come with quads, motorcycles, tractors with trailers, on horseback and on foot. Vehicles often hit the exhausted bulls for the fun of the crowd.

3.Toros de Fuego o Embolados. The Toro de Fuego occurs annually every November in many villages. The bulls are tied up and poked at before the race starts, and then tubes are attached to their horns and set on fire, sometimes with fireworks. The fire burns everything on the bulls’ faces. Sometimes they go blind or have heart attacks. The bulls run into walls and stumble over things for the entertainment of the crowd. After hours of torture, the bulls all die and their bodies are cut apart and distributed amongst the participants. Sometimes the bulls are burnt to death.

4.Bous a la marBulls are terrorised until they jump in the water to escape. Some drown.

5. On August 25th in Peñalsordo, Extremadura, Spain, six young cows are tortured to death, four in the makeshift plaza and two released to be tormented in the streets  This is all witnessed by children.

6.Toro de la Vega-Tordesillas100 or more men armed with long, medieval lances terrorise the animal for up to an hour until, bleeding profusely and riddled with holes, he can stand no more.

 As he collapses someone sticks a dagger into his neck.

Animal Welfare party believes that bull-fighting has no place in modern society and must be banned. Until then, the EU must immediately stop all subsidies towards it. If you agree,  then pledge to vote for the Animal Welfare Party in this year’s European Elections, Thursday 22nd May.

Image of bullfighting (c) Megan Matos

This post was written by
Alex Lockwood is a writer, academic and vegan. He volunteers with AWP and manages the content on the site.

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