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September 11, 2013

Anti-Bullfighting Campaigners Meet Spanish Politicians to Discuss Protection of Bullfighting Initiative

International animal welfare organisations call on Congress of Deputies not to give political support to torturous spectacles

Humane Society International/UK

  • Torture is not entertainment. HSI

MADRID—In a show of global unity against the cruelty of bullfighting, campaigners delivered a letter to the Congress of Deputies opposing a political initiative to protect bullfighting as 'cultural heritage.' The letter, delivered on Wednesday, was signed by more than 100 animal welfare organisations from 29 countries. Petitions expressing similar concerns were presented to Spanish embassies in cities around the world, including Germany, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Peru, Ecuador, Mexico and Portugal on 4 Sept.

In total, the #LoveSpainHateBullfights petition attracted more than 256,600 signatures in more than 135 countries. Members of CAS International, Humane Society International/UK, La Tortura No Es Cultura, League Against Cruel Sports, PETA and the World Society for the Protection of Animals met with politicians, held a press conference outside the Congress. Additionally groups presented another letter signed by 140 scientists across the globe. The scientists raised concerns about the link between animal abuse and violence—especially the desensitizing impact bullfights can have on children.

Help prevent bulls from needlessly suffering.

Marta Esteban, President of La Tortura no es Cultura, said: 'Spanish citizens do not support the cruel spectacle of bullfighting and don't want public funds used to help this dying industry. Together, we are calling on our politicians not to support this terrible legislation. I am delighted that so many international citizens and organisations have spoken out for compassion over cruelty—animal protectionists around the world are looking to our elected representatives to do the right thing, to oppose this law.'

The proposed legislation, which is moving through the Spanish parliament, seeks to protect and promote bullfighting as cultural heritage, including allowing public funds to be used to prop up the industry. A 2013 Ipsos MORI poll of Spanish citizens showed that more than three quarters do not wish their taxes to be used for this purpose, and the majority of Spaniards don't attend bullfights.

The six animal welfare organisations believe the proposed law is a cynical attempt by a desperate bullfighting industry to secure the future of this waning blood sport. They are working together under the campaign banner #LoveSpainHateBullfights to raise awareness and to support compassionate Spanish citizens who oppose this legislation and want to see bullfighting banned, not protected. A cruel spectacle, bullfighting not only inflicts a slow, agonising death on the animals involved, it also risks desensitising spectators, especially children, to violence.

Once in the ring, the matador’s assistants stab the bull repeatedly with a variety of spears, spikes and daggers, causing tremendous pain and blood loss. The matador finally drives a sword into the exhausted animal.‬ Bullfighting has been on the decline for years, with attendance decreasing and bullrings closing across Spain, as more and more people distance themselves from this archaic blood sport.

The proposed legislation, initiated by supporters of bullfighting, is currently being discussed by members of the Culture Committee in the Congress of Deputies (lower house). The final text of the legislation is scheduled to be discussed and voted on by both houses of the Spanish parliament, the Congress of Deputies and the Senate, within the next week.


Contact & for more information: HSI/UK: Wendy Higgins +44 (0)7989 972 423, whiggins@hsi.org

Notes: Seventy-six percent oppose use of public funds to support the bullfighting industry: Ipsos MORI - Ipsos i-omnibus (Spain), 22nd and 25th March 2013. http://www.hsi.org/world/europe/news/releases/2013/04/spain_bullfighting_ipsos_poll_042313.html