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November 6, 2013

Spain’s Image Tarnished as Politicians Vote to Protect Bullfighting Cruelty

Humane Society International/UK

  • Culture is never an excuse for animal cruelty. HSI

MADRID—A coalition of six international animal welfare organisations has expressed its dismay at the decision by members of the Spanish Senate in favour of legislation that will see bullfighting promoted and protected by the State. The new law will recognise the cruel spectacle as cultural heritage and allow the use of public funds to sustain the industry despite substantial opposition from the Spanish public.

The Senate’s decision follows a vote by the Congress of Deputies in October which also supported the legislation. Despite politicians in both houses submitting amendments and speaking out against the cruelty of bullfighting, the legislation was adopted by 144 votes for, 26 against with 54 abstentions, and will now become law.

The #LoveSpainHateBullfights coalition comprising CAS International, Humane Society International, League Against Cruel Sports, PETA, the platform Torture is not Culture and World Society for the Protection of Animals, releases the following statement:

“We are appalled that the Spanish Government has voted to protect a spectacle that causes unacceptable animal cruelty. Spain is keen to promote itself as a modern country with a twenty-first century outlook. Yet supporting the brutal torment and stabbing to death of animals for entertainment deeply tarnishes that image in the eyes of compassionate people in Spain and around the world.

“This move to protect bullfighting is a cynical attempt by a desperate bullfighting industry to secure the future of this dying so-called ‘sport’. Bullfighting is cruel and outdated and has no place in a modern society; culture stops where cruelty starts.”

Bullfighting is in decline in Spain and elsewhere. Dwindling attendance figures raise questions over the industry’s future financial viability and the public is not supportive of public subsidies being used to protect it. A 2013 Ipsos MORI poll of Spanish citizens showed more than three quarters of the Spanish population opposed their taxes being used to support bullfighting.

The new legislation is not expected to affect the regional bans in place in Catalonia and the Canary Islands. Spanish groups will launch a citizens' initiative in 2014 to reverse the new legislation.

The six organisations will continue working to ban bullfighting.

A cruel spectacle, bullfighting not only inflicts a slow, agonising death on the animals involved, it also risks desensitising spectators, especially children, to violence. During a bullfight the bull is repeatedly stabbed with a variety of spears, spikes and daggers, causing tremendous pain and blood loss, before the matador finally drives a sword into the exhausted animal.

ENDS

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

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