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Parliamentary questions
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25 November 2011
E-010978/2011
Question for written answer E-010978/2011
to the Commission
Rule 117
Arlene McCarthy (S&D)

 Subject: Treatment of animals during cultural events
 Answer in writing 

Article 13 TFEU recognises animals as sentient beings, and further states that, through their policies, the EU and the Member States must ‘pay full regard to the welfare requirements of animals, while respecting the legislative or administrative provisions and customs of the Member States relating in particular to religious rites, cultural traditions and regional heritage’.

Further to my question of 10 March 2011 (E‑002699/2011) regarding the Toro de Jubilo, I have been made aware of another similar festival in Tordesillas, Spain, known as the Toro de Vega, where a bull is speared to death.

The Commission has stated in its document ‘Strategy for animal welfare: problems, impacts and policy options to be assessed’ (drafted in preparation for the EU Strategy for Protection and Welfare of Animals 2011-2015) that one of its general objectives is to ‘provide a level of protection in line with citizens concerns.

Given that Article 13 TFEU also provides that traditional and cultural rites, such as the Toro de Vega, remain within the sole competence of the Member States concerned, what action can the Commission take — in line with widespread feeling across the EU and with its own objectives — simply to discourage such barbaric events?

 OJ C 180 E, 21/06/2012
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