lunes, 14 de julio de 2008

Cada familia británica paga para mantener la barbarie de la Tauromaquia

How every family in Britain is paying to keep alive the barbarism that is bullfighting
By Danny Penman

Such shocking brutality is, of course, well known in Spain's bullrings. But what is not known is that our money is being used to finance this ritual slaughter. For I can reveal that the European Union is spending £30million a year to support Spanish bullfights, which this year will kill at least 40,000 bulls.

The EU has even renovated bullrings and is being pressured by the Spanish into recognising bullfighting as representing Europe's cultural heritage. Such a move would make it virtually impossible to outlaw and indeed would lend it a veneer of respectability in the eyes of the world. 'We have been trying to stop the EU from subsidising Spanish bullfights, but so far without success,' says Neil Parish, Conservative MEP and chairman of the European Parliament's Agriculture Committee.

In Britain, for example, it may encourage farmers to grow organic wheat and barley. In Spain, the subsidies have been funnelled into the breeding of fighting bulls. On average, each fighting bull breeder receives about £185 per animal per year. In effect, the farmer receives EU subsidies for four to five years for each animal while they are being reared to fighting age.

Given the 40,000 bulls die in Spanish bullfights every year, the total EU support package for bullfighting has so far amounted to more than £100million. But that is only part of the story. The EU also helps build and renovate Spanish bullrings. In the towns of Haro in the province of Rioja and Toro in Zamora, the EU is so proud of its support it has even erected huge signs outside the bullrings highlighting its contribution. Campaigners believe this is just the tip of an iceberg. They are concerned that a significant proportion of the EU's agricultural support package allocated to Spain - currently £5.6billion per year - is siphoned off to support bullfighting and 'blood fiestas' - where a variety of animals, including chickens and cows, are also slaughtered in local rituals.

'The EU is supporting the torturing to death of bulls in the bullring and countless other animals in village 'blood fiestas'. I find it absolutely disgusting that a proportion of my tax goes to support animal abuse.

These horrific blood fiestas make bullfights like those I witnessed at Madrid's Las Ventas stadium appear relatively civilised. But even here appearances can be deceptive. Bulls are doctored to weaken them before they get anywhere near the ring. A common tactic is to force-feed them 3lb of Epsom salts to induce diarrhoea and dehydration. The animals are then forced to eat salt to cause muscle spasms and cramps once they enter the bullring.

The barbarity of bullfighting is beyond question and the Spanish are gradually beginning to shun it. Recent opinion polls indicate that only about a quarter of Spaniards are interested in bullfighting, with only eight per cent actively attending fights.

For the sake of the bulls of Spain - and the country's reputation and honour - let us hope so. Meanwhile, you and I need to remember that, through the EU, we are subsidising this so-called 'sport'.

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