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Bullfighting

Volume 456: debated on Thursday 1 February 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much EU financial support was available to farmers breeding bulls for bullfighting in each of the last five years; how much such support is available to farmers in 2007; and if he will make a statement. (111990)

[holding answer 26 January 2007]: Bulls kept for bullfighting are eligible for common agricultural policy (CAP) subsidy payments under the beef special premium scheme (BSPS).

The 2003 CAP reform agreement required member states to introduce the decoupled single payment scheme between 2005 and 2007. However, the agreement also provided the option to forgo some of the single payment scheme funds and use them to retain some of the old coupled premium schemes.

The three countries most likely to make payments to bulls kept for bullfighting (Spain, Portugal and France) did not take up the option to retain the BSPS and it therefore closed in those countries at the end of 2005. Only Denmark, Finland and Sweden have retained the BSPS.

Payments under the BSPS are made to eligible bulls and steers and are subject to regional ceilings in each member state. Payments are worth €210 per eligible bull and €150 per steer (on which two payments can be made). The regional ceilings applied to Spain, France and Portugal for the five years before the scheme’s closure were:

Country

Spain

Portugal

France

2001

713,999

175,075

1,754,732

2002

643,525

160,720

1,734,779

2003

643,525

160,720

1,734,779

2004

713,999

175,075

1,754,732

2005

713,999

175,075

1,754,732

If claims exceeded these ceilings then payments were scaled back to control expenditure. It is not possible, however, to identify which payments within these totals were made to bulls kept for bullfighting.

There is also an ongoing proposal, raised within discussions of the EU budget, to exclude bulls kept for bullfighting from the BSPS. The UK Government have, and will continue to, support this proposal.

In view of the above there is unlikely to be any direct support for bulls kept for bullfighting in 2007.