Media Centre

Anti-Bullfighting Campaigners Meet Spanish Politicians to Discuss Protection of Bullfighting Initiative

For Immediate Release:

11 September 2013

Madrid – In a show of global unity against the cruelty of bullfighting, campaigners delivered a letter to the Congress of Deputies opposing a political initiative to protect bullfighting as "cultural heritage". The letter, delivered on Wednesday, was signed by more than 100 animal welfare organisations from 29 countries. Petitions expressing similar concerns were presented to Spanish embassies in cities around the world, including Ecuador, Germany, Mexico, the Netherlands, Peru, Portugal and the United Kingdom on 4 September.

In total, the #LoveSpainHateBullfights petition attracted more than 256,600 signatures in more than 135 countries. Members of CAS International, Humane Society International/UK, La Tortura No Es Cultura, League Against Cruel Sports, PETA and the World Society for the Protection of Animals met with politicians and held a news conference outside the congress. Additionally, the groups presented another letter signed by 140 scientists across the globe. The scientists raised concerns about the link between animal abuse and violence – especially the desensitizing impact that bullfights can have on children.

Marta Esteban, president of La Tortura No Es Cultura, said: "Spanish citizens do not support the cruel spectacle of bullfighting and don't want public funds used to help this dying industry. Together we are calling on our politicians not to support this terrible legislation. I am delighted that so many international citizens and organisations have spoken out for compassion over cruelty – animal protectionists around the world are looking to our elected representatives to do the right thing, to oppose this law".

The proposed legislation, which is moving through the Spanish Parliament, seeks to protect and promote bullfighting as cultural heritage, including allowing public funds to be used to prop up the industry. A 2013 Ipsos MORI poll of Spanish citizens showed that more than three-quarters do not wish their taxes to be used for this purpose, and the majority of Spaniards don't attend bullfights.

The six animal welfare organisations believe the proposed law is a cynical attempt by a desperate bullfighting industry to secure the future of this waning blood sport. They are working together under the campaign banner #LoveSpainHateBullfights to raise awareness and support compassionate Spanish citizens who oppose this legislation and want to see bullfighting banned, not protected. A cruel spectacle, not only does bullfighting inflict a slow, agonising death on the animals involved, it also risks desensitising spectators, especially children, to violence.

Once in the ring, the matador's assistants stab the bull repeatedly with a variety of spears, spikes and daggers, causing tremendous pain and blood loss. The matador finally drives a sword into the exhausted animal. Bullfighting has been on the decline for years, with attendance decreasing and bullrings closing across Spain, as more and more people distance themselves from this archaic blood sport.

The proposed legislation, initiated by supporters of bullfighting, is currently being discussed by members of the Culture Committee in the Congress of Deputies (lower house). The final text of the legislation is scheduled to be discussed and voted on by both houses of the Spanish parliament, the Congress of Deputies and the Senate within the next week.

Contacts for More Information:

PETA: Ben Williamson +44 (0) 20 7837 6327, ext 229; BenW@peta.org.uk

HSI/UK: Wendy Higgins +44 (0)7989 972 423, whiggins@hsi.org

LACS: Emma Sobhee +44 (0)1483 524 262, EmmaSobhee@league.org.uk

WSPA: Katharine Mansell +44 (0) 20 7239 0632, katharinemansell@wspa.org.uk

CAS: Marius Kolff +31 6 27023625, marius@cas-international.org

La Tortura No Es Cultura: Marta Esteban Miñano +34 6 15001433, marta@latorturanoescultura.com

Notes:

Seventy-six per cent of Spaniards oppose use of public funds to support the bullfighting industry: Ipsos MORI – Ipsos i-omnibus (Spain), 22 and 25 March 2013. http://www.hsi.org/world/europe/news/releases/2013/04/spain_bullfighting_ipsos_poll_042313.html

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