Green MEP slams EU for supporting bullfighting in Spain

As thousands of Londoners prepare for holidays in Spain, Jean Lambert, the Green MEP for London, has criticised the European Union for propping up the bullfighting industry in Spain. Ms Lambert’s criticisms follow the publication of a report (1) which suggests that bullfighting would be unviable without the generous subsidies given to the industry by the European Union.

The report estimates that bullfighting receives over £100m worth of subsidies from the EU, predominantly through the Common Agricultural Policy. They are not given specifically for the bullfighting industry – but are channeled into it by the Spanish Government which, along with the European Commission, could stop the flow of EU cash.

Ms Lambert has joined other MEPs in writing to the EU’s agriculture minister (2) calling for an end to EU subsidies for bullfighting. Commenting on the report Ms Lambert said:

“Whilst people across Europe are wondering where they’re going to get the next meal from the EU continues to pour our money into bullfighting: this has to stop.

“Bullfighting is barbaric and cruel and, without the prop of EU farming subsidies, it’s a failing business. The EU must immediately withdraw funding from bullfighting and redirect the money towards sustainable agriculture producing affordable food.”

Another member of the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament, Raul Romeva, said:

“It is unacceptable that EU funds continue to be used to prop up this brutal practice, which flies in the face of EU commitments on animal welfare. This report makes clear that bullfighting would not be financially viable without subsidies, with public interest and support seriously waning.

Given EU funds of at least €130 million per year – and probably much more – continue to be channeled to the bullfighting industry, it is clear that this is also a question for the EU and the Commission must stop trying to duck responsibility for the issue.”

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(1) The study can be accessed at the following link:

http://www.greens-efa.eu/fileadmin/dam/Documents/Studies/2013-5%20Bullfighting%20subsidies%20report.pdf

(2) The letter can be accessed at the following link:

http://www.greens-efa.eu/fileadmin/dam/Documents/Letters/2013-5%20Bullfighting%20letter%20to%20Ciolos.pdf

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