Help prevent bull­fighting from being included in the UNESCO Cultural Heritage List

6 October 2020

Bullfighting glorifies abuse, violence, and cruelty against animals and should absolutely not be included on the UNESCO list of intangible cultural heritage. This was recently announced by MEP for the Dutch Party for the Animals Anja Hazekamp together with sixty other MEPs in a joint letter to Audrey Azoulay, director of UNESCO. Hazekamp is calling on citizens around the world to let UNESCO know that bullfighting should not be protected, but rather abolished.

Anja Hazekamp, together with representatives of the Spanish and Portuguese party for the animals, leads the demonstration against bullfighting in 2018 in Madrid.

The International Bullfighting Association filed a request on June 7 to classify bullfighting as "a cultural heritage in urgent need of protection". This month, UNESCO is discussing that request. "The only ones in urgent need of protection are the bulls being slaughtered during this barbaric activity," said Anja Hazekamp.

According to Hazekamp, bullfighting is contrary to the values of UNESCO. "UNESCO's mission is to establish peace through international cooperation, education and culture. Based on the intellectual and moral solidarity of humanity. That solidarity must apply to every living being," write the MEPs. "Acceptance of the bizarre request of bullfighters would signal that violence and cruelty are acceptable if they are identified as culture by a group of people."

Every year thousands of bulls suffer horrific deaths in bullfighting in Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Spain, Portugal, and France. The specially bred bulls stand no chance against the matador because they are weakened and tortured - out of sight of the public. In preparation for a "fight", the bulls are locked up in the dark for days without food or drink. Just before they are released into the arena, they receive severe blows to the head and kidneys, petroleum jelly in their eyes and cotton wool in their noses, and they are tormented on their testicles and hooves. The Party for the Animals and sister parties worldwide, like the majority of the inhabitants of, for example, Spain, think it is high time to end this cruelty once and for all.

Help end bullfighting for good!
You too can help prevent bullfighting from being recognized as a cultural heritage: send a friendly email to UNESCO as soon as possible or send them a message via Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. This month UNESCO will assess the application of the bullfighting association. Let's help them make the right choice!

European subsidies for breeding fighting bulls

Anja Hazekamp at the 2018 mass protests against bullfighting in Madrid.

Hazekamp has been fighting bullfighting for a long time as a member of the European Parliament. In 2015, 2016, and 2018, she led mass protests against bullfighting in Madrid, together with the Spanish and Portuguese parties for the animals. Hazekamp also submitted a proposal to end EU subsidies for fighting bull breeding, on which the European Parliament will soon vote. It is currently estimated that millions of euros of EU subsidies go into the breeding of fighting bulls every year.

Already in 2015, the European Parliament adopted a proposal to exclude breeders of fighting bulls from European agricultural subsidies. However, the European Commission - the day-to-day EU administration responsible for executing the request - continued to insist that under current agricultural rules, money from European taxpayers cannot be prevented from ending up in bullfights.

"It is now up to the European Commission to adjust the rules in such a way that not a cent more ends up in bullfighting. Bullfighting is pure animal cruelty that arouses resistance in many people. It is unacceptable that people from all over Europe unwittingly contribute to this," according to Anja Hazekamp.