Spanish bullfighting bosses’ requests for a €700 million (£634 million) bailout have backfired somewhat, with one council voting to eliminate funding for the bloodsport from its 2020 budget altogether.
The council of Piedralaves, a municipality located in Ávila, central Spain, is the first to completely defund the cruel sport, and is instead reallocating €30,000 (£26,250) from this year’s budget towards the reduction of residents’ water bills.
This decision was agreed upon unanimously, despite the Partido Popular – the party that has control over the council – usually being known to be pro-bullfighting.
AnimaNaturalis, an NGO that last week led protests against the bullfighters’ plea for a bailout, has described Piedralaves as having led the way forward for other local councils to follow suit.
Director Aïda Gascón said:
Piedralaves could be a pioneer for other municipalities, which should follow their example. We need the government to turn its back on the demands of the bullfighting sector, which is asking to be rescued.
We believe that public money should be spent, now more than ever, to protect the most vulnerable and those facing the loss of their lives and jobs. Piedralaves is showing empathy and good sense in the management of public money.
Several groups that defend and promote the divisive sport have pleaded with the Spanish government to help the bullfighting industry during the outbreak.
Within a joint letter addressed to the government of Madrid, these groups asked for tickets to be refunded for shows that had been cancelled, and have called for the bullfighters’ wages to be paid.
The groups also told Culture Minister José Manuel Rodríguez Uribes how VAT should be lowered, and that the government should cover sanitary and veterinary expenses. Campaigners have estimated the requested bailout could amount to €700 million (£634 million).
Taxpayer funding in Spain already goes towards supporting bullfighting, and AnimaNaturalis activists believe local governments make up a substantial part of this.
We calculate that millions of euros are allocated year after year to the organization of popular festivals with bulls, especially from city councils and autonomous governments.
We encourage mayors to review the budget items for 2020 and 2021, so that those planned for bullfights are transferred to boosting local commerce, helping vulnerable families and strengthening the public health system.
As they are currently unable to publicly protest against a bullfighting bailout, Spanish citizens have been using social media to voice their criticism, with the country’s top trending Twitter hashtag having become #AyudasTauromaquiaNO, which translates as ‘No help to bullfighting’.
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