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Madrid cuts bullfight subsidies to fund domestic violence campaign

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A demonstration against domestic violence in Madrid in November. Photo: AFP
12:30 CET+01:00
Madrid's conservative regional government will now spend more than €400,000 on helping domestic violence victims after rival parties demanded generous bullfighting subsidies be slashed.

The regional government had originally earmarked nearly €1.4 million on aid for bullfighting in 2016 with Madrid president Cristina Cifuentes saying in October she wouldn't cave in to those "few who want us to do away with the fiesta" – as bullfighting is known among its supporters in Spain.

But rival political groups this week ganged up on Cifuentes to force through a budget amendment which will see that a huge bite taken out of that funding.

The ambush means local governments in the Madrid region will no longer receive €414,000 the government had set aside for staging bullfights and other related activities.

That money will now go instead towards the training of legal staff in domestic abuse issues.

The move - which will go some way to alleviating a shortage of funds for domestic violence issues in the 2016 regional budget - was welcomed by María Espinosa, a politician with Spain's anti-austerity Podemos party.

Speaking on Thursday, Espinosa said: "Budgets have to serve the needs of the people and not go towards for the allowances of María Dolores de Cospedal (the Secretary-General of Spain's Popular Party official and member of Spain's Taurine Council) or funding bullfighting."

Following the vote, Cifuentes came out on the front foot taking to Twitter to insist that funding would be "readjusted" to ensure money would be found.

But the success of her rivals' proposal to strip funds from the bulls is further proof of bullfighting's seriously diminished prestige in Spain.

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Figures from the culture ministry show the number of bullfighting events held in the country plummeted from 953 in 2014 to 398 last year.

A recent poll also showed that fewer that in one in four people in Spain have any interest in it. That same survey also found some 60 percent of 18 to 24-year-olds are in favour of a ban on the activity.

In September, the Spanish capital's left-wing mayor scrapped the annual subsidy of over €60,000 for a bullfighting school because it "goes against animal rights" while in November residents of a town in Valencia voted to drop events involving bulls from their annual fiesta.

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