Anti- and pro-bullfighting groups go head to head in Europe

Jun 10, 2008

For a Bullfighing-Free Europe with MEPs Raul Romeva, David Hammerstein and Carl Schlyter

Update: As a result of last week's successful anti-bullfighting activity in the EU parliament, 95 MEPs signed the white model bull and over 1,000 parliament staff signed an anti-bullfighting petition. Additionally, Gérard Duprez, a Belgian MEP, retracted his support for the pro-bullfghitng lobby.

June 4 2008

The European parliament in Brussels will be hosting lobbyists from both the pro- and anti-bullfighting movements this week, with WSPA and our For a Bullfighting-Free Europe alliance partners arguing that this cruel sport is a dying industry with serious financial problems. 

While we present evidence to Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), the pro-bullfighting lobby will also be working inside the parliament building, promoting the idea that bullfighting is a growing industry, part of Spanish culture and tradition, and trying to justify their current subsidies.

Evidence to the contrary includes low attendance closing all but one bullring in Barcelona and a 2007 poll showing the vast majority of Spaniards have no interest in this blood sport, which kills more than 40,000 bulls a year in horrific conditions and compromises the welfare of many horses.

Why take the campaign to the EU?

It is estimated that the European parliament currently pays a subsidy of 220 euros per animal to breeders of fighting bulls, which – along with local subsidies in the bullfighting countries – is keeping the industry alive. 

Alyx Dow, WSPA’s International Anti-Bullfighting Officer, comments: “We are keen to show the MEPs that bullfighting is actually a dying industry and they should stop funding this cruelty through EU subsidies.”

Convincing the decision-makers

The model bull attracts signatures inside the European Parliament

Events to be staged this week by the Bullfighting Free Europe alliance – to encourage MEPs to find out more about the many arguments against bullfighting – include:

  • An information stand in the parliament building where MEPs will be invited to sign a full-size model of a white bull to show support for the anti-bullfighting lobby

  • A seminar hosted by MEPs and expert speakers including a veterinarian, a Spanish politician and an ecologist.

Additionally, a full information pack for MEPs will be distributed to explain the arguments against this cruel custom.

Brussels will also play host to the International Bullfighting Conference, a meeting for anti-bullfighting groups from across the world, on June 4 and 5 2008.

See a full list of alliance members at the For a Bullfighting-Free Europe website >>

Find out more about WSPA’s campaign against bullfighting, and sign the petition >>

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