Love Spain, Hate Bullfighting
Posted by jonathanfryer on Sunday, 12th July, 2009
One of the things I was intending to do if I had got elected to the European Parliament last month was to work with the League against Cruel Sports to end EU subsidies to Spain’s bullfighting industry, in which nearly 12,000 animals are tortured and killed each year. I received several hundred lobbying emails from anti-bullfighting campaigners during the election campaign, but in fact they were preaching to the converted. I became a life member of the League well over 20 years ago and indeed while I was working in Brussels as a freelance jouranlist in the 1970s, I did some consultancy work for the League on European animal welfare policy. Bullfighting is a truly barbaric form of animal cruelty, portrayed perversely as entertainment and ‘cultural tradition’. So was bear-baiting in Tudor England and feeding Christians to the lions in ancient Rome, but that doesn’t make those appropriate in a civilised modern society either.
According to an Ipsos-MORI poll, two thirds of Spaniards themselves are opposed to public funding in support of bullfighting, with only 9 per cent in favour. But what most EU taxpayers don’t realise is that European funds currently go to subsidise this industry too. The League is rightly pressing MEPs and the European Commission in Brussels to seek a ban on bullfighting. As a recent League newsletter declared, ‘The EU cannot on the one hand strive to promote morality in the world while on the other ignoring the plight of thousands of bulls which are wickedly killed every year in stadiums on its territory.’