Bullfighting faces an uncertain future after the Members of European Parliament (MEPs) voted to stop subsidies which support the rearing of bulls for fighting.
In a dramatic vote, 438 MEPs voted to end the £110 million (approx. $166 million) a year pay outs given to farmers raising bulls for fighting in Spain, around £13.5 million (approx. $20 million) of which comes from UK taxes.
The League Against Cruel Sports is delighted - but aware that there were still hurdles to jump.
People across Europe have spoken, and it's a great moment. MEPs from all countries have listened to people who are saying loud and clear – bullfighting is a barbaric and medieval pastime which has no place in modern society. There is no justification for public money propping it up, and we are delighted that MEPs have now voted to end the subsidy.
The League Against Cruel Sports has been campaigning to end public payments towards the rearing of bulls for fighting for many years, and we would like to thank every MEP that heeded our call. This vote will not end bullfighting immediately, but it represents a significant step forward. Members of the European Parliament should be very proud of this decision.
A similar vote was held last year, but failed to reach the required number of MEPs for the motion to pass. In today's vote, 199 MEPs voted against the motion, with 50 abstentions. The issue will now move onto the EU Council and Commission, where further discussions will take place.
"Although public opposition to bullfighting has been high for many years, we are starting to see some real political movement on bullfighting now," added Mr Southern. "The arguments that it is a tradition that should be sustained are being exposed and rejected, including by the Spanish people."
Last month, a leading travel agent in the UK announced that it will no longer send its customers to the Pamplona bull running festival, after prolonged pressure from League Against Cruel Sports supporters.