The opposition in the Madrid regional assembly has forced conservative premier Cristina Cifuentes to slash a third of the money allocated to bullfighting and use it for social purposes instead.
A budget amendment brought to the floor by Podemos, one of the new parties to emerge out of the economic crisis, is taking €414,000 away from the €1,329,593 set aside for bullfighting-related activities.
This money will be used to train personnel in the treatment of domestic abuse situations, to hire interpreters and to pay psychosocial teams to help victims of violence.
Local governments will no longer get money to organize bull-related festivities, nor will Madrid finance promotional activities such as shows, panel discussions and awards
The proposal was passed after receiving support from other opposition groups in the regional chamber, which is controlled by the Popular Party (PP).
Local governments will no longer get money to organize bull-related festivities, nor will Madrid finance promotional activities such as shows, panel discussions and awards.
María Espinosa, of Podemos, said that right now there is no psychosocial team – which encompasses social workers, physicians and psychologists – to assist abuse victims outside regular working hours. Another amendment will make it mandatory for justice personnel to be trained in dealing with domestic abuse cases, following a United Nations recommendation.
“When we at Podemos say that we want the institutions to work for the people, this is the kind of thing we mean,” said Espinosa. “The budgets have to be used to pay for people’s needs, not to pay the stipend of Ms María Dolores de Cospedal [a high-ranking PP official who sits on the Taurine Council] or to fund tauromachy.”
The budget reduction triggered an angry response from supporters of bullfighting. One user warned on Twitter that this “mistake” will cost the PP votes at the upcoming general election of December 20.
Cifuentes quickly replied: “We will maintain our support for bulls, we will readjust the budget in order to accommodate for the amendment without reducing the aid to the ‘fiesta’.”
Sources at the regional government said that support for bullfighting is “a campaign commitment” and that they will try to secure more money for it during the budget debate.
But the conservatives are facing an uphill struggle to maintain the same level of institutional support for los toros. In September, Madrid Mayor Manuela Carmena, of the leftist citizen platform Ahora Madrid, pulled the plug on a €61,200 subsidy for the city’s bullfighting school.
Following that move, the regional premier promised to support the industry, and told the news agency Efe that she would “not allow a few to try to take away our fiesta from us.”
English version by Susana Urra.