MADRID – The Franz Weber Foundation asked the ombudsman in the Canary Islands on Tuesday to stop broadcasting bullfights during children´s hours in the school holidays before Easter (Semana Santa).
The foundation has filed a complaint warning that these broadcasts are easily accessible on television. This is despite these animal cruelty practices not actually taking place in the archipelago. The Canary Islands and the region of Catalonia are the only two Spanish regions to ban bullfighting. Although there are many festivities in the latter region where bulls play a role and are killed at the end.
Complaint lodged with European Parliament
The organisation has also complained to the European Parliament’s Committee on Petitions. In it, she emphasises that the broadcast of bullfights and all related programs in which violence is shown during children’s hours violates EU Directive /1808 from 2018.
Close-up footage of animal suffering
Regularly, according to the Franz Weber Foundation, the broadcasts “contain frames of real animal suffering. They film close-up images that clearly show the cattle’s injuries and the suffering they cause. In addition, their violent deaths – usually applauded by the audience – are always extensively filmed.
Animal cruelty provided with positive commentary
In addition, the animal protectors of the Swiss Foundation explain that the broadcast is accompanied by comments that positively reinforce everything that happens in the arena. In this way, minors can perceive that what they see is normal and positive, which contributes to the trivialisation of violence against animals and animal suffering.
Psychological effects on children
According to several scientists, attending a bullfight has psychological effects on children. It can lead to trauma, weakening moral judgment and empathy. Another consequence is that children become accustomed to violence and may react apathetically to violent events. The Anti-Bullfighting Committee CAS International also endorses this.
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In addition to the clear risk that witnessing animal cruelty can frighten the child and even cause traumatic effects, exposure to violence in childhood can help normalise it and promote attitudes of acceptance of aggression, concludes the Franz Weber Foundation.
The Spanish animal rights party PACMA submitted a report to the United Nations (UN) Committee on the Rights of the Child at the end of last year. This accuses the Spanish government of not protecting children against bullfights. The report says the government has “deliberately” ignored the recommendations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child and has “consistently and repeatedly failed to comply with” the Convention on the Rights of the Child, ratified in 1990.
“Archaic and Cruel Tradition”
On its website, the Franz Weber Foundation describes bullfighting as follows: “Bullfighting is an archaic and cruel tradition that runs contrary to the attitudes of modern-day society. Eight countries in the world still subject bulls to torture at popular festivals and arenas, as an exception to their animal welfare laws: Spain, Portugal, southern France, Mexico, Colombia, Peru and some regions in Ecuador and Venezuela. They allow these sadistic practices even though the majority of their populations reject them or show no interest in them. This can only be explained by the connection of the bullfighting lobby with politics. Despite a lack of visitors, bullfighting continues to live on, in particular due to considerable state subsidies which ensure its profitability.”
EU subsidies for bullfighting
According to estimates by the European Parliament, breeders of fighting bulls earn €130 million in European tax money every year. The sector itself says that it concerns €200 million. According to animal rights organisations, that money keeps the horrific practice alive. Not that the European Union supports the bloody tradition. The money is not specifically intended for bullfights, but breeders of fighting bulls are not excluded from the European agricultural policy, the system for government support.
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