Campaigners rejoice as European Parliament votes against bullfighting subsidies

Animal welfare campaigners have welcomed a vote by the European Parliament against taxpayer subsidies being paid towards bullfighting.

Some 438 MEPs voted in favour of an amendment against payouts which campaigners say are worth over €100m a year to farmers who raise bulls on their land for fighting in Spain.

The subsidies are indirectly helping keep the bullfighting industry alive, animal welfare groups said.

The amendment in the budget said EU funds, through farming subsidies or other financing, should not be used to finance bullfighting.

The issue will now be passed to the European Council and Commission for further consideration.

Green Party MEP Bas Eickhout, who tabled today's amendment, hailed the result as "a beautiful day for all Europeans who ask for a better treatment of animals".

Aideen Yourell of the Irish Council Against Blood Sports said: "This is a huge victory for animal welfare groups around the world, including the Irish Council Against Blood Sports, which has been campaigning to stop the shameful use of European taxpayers' money for this most barbaric and evil bloodsport.

"The bullfighting mafia have wielded their power and influence on the EU for years, and were successful in maintaining the EU subsidies for their horrific cruelty. In bullfighting, defenceless bulls are tortured to death in bullrings for 'entertainment'."

John Fitzgerald of the Campaign for the Abolition Of Cruel Sports, welcomed the vote, saying: "Bullfighting is cruel beyond measure.

"Even before the animal enters the ring, it is beaten over the kidneys and has Vaseline rubbed into eyes to impair its already poor vision.

"Then, before the matador is ready to push a sword into its body, it is stabbed with razor sharp lances and darts."

PETA Director Mimi Bekhechi said: "This is a hugely significant decision that could be the final nail in the coffin for Spain's already struggling bullfighting industry.

"Tormenting bulls for entertainment belongs to the Dark Ages, not the 21st century, and today we're one giant step closer to relegating this cruel pastime to the dustbin of history."

Joanna Swabe, Humane Society International/Europe's executive director, said: "Bullfighting is a cruel practice that inflicts a great amount of pain and suffering on bulls.

"While the EU cannot legislate to ban bullfighting, it can stop granting farming subsidies to bull breeders.

"These subsidies are indirectly helping to keep the cruel practice of bullfighting alive.

"We applaud the fact that MEPs have sent a clear signal to the European Commission that it is unacceptable for EU funds to be used to finance any part of an industry that involves the torture of sentient animals for public entertainment, even if it is indirectly."

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