British taxpayers give £13.5 million each year through the common agricultural policy to Spanish farmers who rear fighting bulls that are subjected to cruelty in village fiestas, a report by an animal rights group claimed yesterday.
Animal Equality has called on the European Union to cease funding for Spanish bull breeders after carrying out an undercover investigation into the fiestas, which are not subject to the same controls as established bullfights.
In a graphic video shot by activists, young bulls are seen being chased and cornered in the streets before being beaten and killed. In the Torre de la Vega festival, a bull is killed with lances by men on horseback. Animal Equality claims that 10,000 bulls die each year.
“I will never forget how I watched two groups fighting over who was going to kill the bull. They began to fight as the animal was still in agony,” said Javier Moreno, of Animal Equality.
Carlos Núñez, president of the Spanish Union of Fighting Bull Breeders, said: “Without EU money, our business would not survive. It not only sustains a central part of our culture, but keeps hundreds of people in work.”
In 2013, the Spanish parliament voted to protect bullfighting by awarding it special cultural status.