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Protest against EU subsidies to bullfighting in The Hague

Tuesday, April 10th 2018

Schrijfster Yvonne Kroonenberg (links) tijdens ons protest in Den Haag © CAS International Protest in The Hague © CAS International

On Wednesday April 4 CAS International protested against the European subsidies that end up in the bullfighting sector. The protest took place in The Hague, in front of the Dutch Parliament. Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Anja Hazekamp (Partij voor de Dieren), member of Dutch Parliament Femke Merel Arissen (Partij voor de Dieren), and Dutch author Yvonne Kroonenberg joined the protest and gave speeches about the European subsidies.

Their suffering is our suffering
The demonstrators stood in black clothes, with in front of their faces part of a piece of art made by Koen Spaas: the painting of a bull’s head, because the suffering of the bull is our suffering too.

Anja Hazekamp asked the European Commission several questions, demanding to end the subsidies that the bullfighting sector is receiving as soon as possible, preferably this year. Hazekamp:

“Europe gives 130 million subsidies to bullfighting every year. We don’t know where the money goes to. We can’t split up the subsidies. Dutch Parliament wants this to end, the European Parliament wants this to end, we want this to end. The European Commission can’t allow this situation to continue.”

Anja Hazekamp Anja Hazekamp © CAS International

Bullfighting and Europe
Bullfights are either prohibited in most countries in the European Union, or do not take place any longer. Three countries of the European Union do have bullfights. Spain and Portugal hold bullfights and have no prohibition at all. In France bullfights are prohibited in general, but many municipalities in the south of the country do still host bullfights. These communities are exempted from the law due to the cultural history of bullfighting in this region. Anja Hazekamp:

“The constitution, the Treaty of Lisbon, states that animals need to be treated well, that we must take into account their security, because they are beings with feelings and consciousness. The same constitution makes an exception for religion and culture. We think this type of entertainment is no culture, it is animal maltreatment and it should no longer be allowed.”

The bullfighting sector receives public funding from the European Union through subsidies that are meant for the agrarian sector. The European Parliament decided in 2015, after intensive lobby by CAS International and other organizations, to stop this funding. But until now, the European Commission has not been able to stop these subsidies because, according to the Commission, these are invisible.

Anja Hazekamp en Femke Merel MEP Anja Hazekamp (Partij voor de Dieren) and member of Dutch Parliament Femke Merel Arissen (Partij voor de Dieren) © CAS International

The policy of subsidies is being revised at the moment (2018). CAS expects that during this revision the routing of the money flows will become clear. This transparency will make visible how money from the European Union ends up in the bullfighting sector. When this is clear, it will be possible to stop this money flow, as decided by the European Parliament. Our petition supports the decision of European Parliament to stop this flow of subsidies.

Marius Kolff, director of CAS International:

“When the European Parliament asks for the end of subsides, then this should be respected. Now they hide behind nonsense like ‘the subsidies are hidden and we can’t make them visible.’ Imagine this would happen with child maltreatment! Besides, bullfighting is prohibited in most European countries. These countries also contribute to these cruel practices.”

We ask the European Commission to respect the statement of the European Parliament and to ensure no more money is made available for this type of animal suffering. We also ask Dutch government to achieve this goal. Our petition supports this decision of European Parliament to stop the flow of subsidies to bullfighting. Sign the petition: http://stieren.net/en/petition/european-subsidies.html

130 million
It is estimated that the bullfighting sector annually receives 629 million euro from public funding. 130 million comes from European agricultural subsidies. Aside from this, the majority of Spanish people is against bullfighting. The public interest is decreasing every year. According to the Ministry of Culture only 6.9% of Spaniards still attend bullfights.

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