Spanish bullfighting financed with € 130 million from the EU's CAP!


Spanish bullfighting financed with € 130 million from the EU's CAP!

24 June 2020
Even though Corrida - opposed by the majority of EU citizens and MEPs - poses serious hazard for public health and safety, the bullfighting shows are still heavily subsidized with the European tax payers' money. LAV asks the European Commission to stop financing this inherently cruel tradition once and for all.

Between the end of September and the beginning of October 2019, LAV filmed and gather information from three Corrida shows in Algemesi, Seville and Madrid. Apart from serious animal welfare violation caught before, during and after the shows, interviewed witnesses confirmed to receive subsidies from the EU with specific “expedients” together with funds from the local government. In particular, bullfighting is funded by the national government, regional governments, provincial councils (Diputaciones) and municipalities.

When summed up, 571 million euros come from funds for bullfighting allocated by different Spanish authorities while about 130 million euros come from subsidies allocated by the European Union to bullfighting - essentially through the CAP. Making up to 31,6% of the income for farms intended for bullfighting, CAP funding is essential for the farms' economic sustainability despite of the fact that in 2016 the EP approved no use of “CAP funds or any other European funding line to economically support bullfighting activities involving the death of the bull”.

Bullfighting is an unacceptable show, contested for years because it is contrary to ethics and the protection of animals, non-educational offered to children, even though 84% of young Spaniards disapprove of this show

Roberto Bennati, LAV CEO

While 84% of young people in Span disapproved of this tradition in 2015, this is a consolidated trend. In 2008 a survey reported 67% of people interviewed having no interest in the show, while just 12 years later that number grew to 81%. It is clear to everyone that Corrida is now undergoing a serious crisis. 

This June the Spanish Ministry of Culture published new data stating that the shows in the arenas in 2019 decreased by 63.4% compared to 2007. However, bull farms destined for bullfighting have increased from 1327 to 1339. In addition, in 2019 there were 9,993 registered professionals in the Bullfighting sector, compared to 7,907 in 2017.

All these support the evidence of how 31.6% of revenue from CAP funds, together with the additional funds received nationally, are invested in the revival of this cruel tradition.

How can the European Union finance this cruelty? It is time to say “no”: we urge the Commission and the EU Parliament to immediately stop subsidizing Corrida with public funds (CAP) intended for agriculture and not for torture. 

Today more than ever, in the Covid-19 emergency, we can't ignore the health risks of arenas where the blood of these animals is sown and where the animals are slaughtered on the spot with dubious standards of health safety. This is an irresponsible act!

Roberto Bennati, LAV CEO

Below you can read more information from the investigation which is captured in the report published by LAV (in collaboration with our member organisation AVATMA, Animal Guardians and La Tortura no es Cultura).

  • The matador hits the bull with an estoque (a typical bullfighting sword) which is 80 cm long. The estoque is inserted into the thorax of the animal. It produces an intense haemorrhage since it cuts veins, arteries, and lungs. The consequence is that the animal suffers an intense suffocation due to blood flooding his thoracic cavity.
  • Once on the ground, the bull resting on his folded legs, is hit with a puntilla (special 10 cm long knife) always used by a subalterno (subordinate assistant) of the bullfighter. The consequence is the death of the animal, but that does not occur immediately; it can take between one and four minutes for the animal to die.
  • There are many cases, documented through filming, in which these animals have their ears cut off or are dragged by the mules out of the bullring, when they are still alive.
  • On some occasions, dead bulls are moved outside the ring and put openly on a scraper bucket, close to really young kids and people in general.
  • The meat from the bulls killed in the bullfights is sold in some butcher shops and local restaurants. In some cases that same meat is transported out of the arena without any hygienic-sanitary criteria and in front of people, even children.
  • Two of the filmed shows concern the main Spanish arenas (Seville and Madrid), with animals killed violently, tortured and executed after a long agony. Others are seriously injured from stress as soon as they enter the arena. In several cases even the life of the public is put at serious risk during the shows, as well as the whole town, during the events prior to the show. As an example, Algemesi is a very important and particular "plaza" where the bulls are worn off before the show, through the streets of the town (practice of the encierro).
  • The bulls in Algemesi are sent to death very young (no more than 3 years of age): for this reason those who kill them are called "novilleros", or aspiring bullfighters.

This investigation provides more evidence as to why the new CAP needs to take into account animal welfare practices. It also demonstrates that Member States need to get this practice disqualified as a tradition and proactively ban it, to better protect the welfare of these animals and to get this cruel practices stopped once and for all. 

The post 'Spanish bullfighting financed with € 130 million from the EU's CAP!' is modified from an article published by Lega Anti Vivisezione in their original language.