► Activists says Valencia’s coalition government backsliding on animal rights ►
Hundreds of animal-rights activists gathered in downtown Valencia Saturday to protest upcoming bullfights forming part of the city’s annual Fallas festivities and to denounce the “torture” of animals for entertainment, which they say is allowed by the three parties comprising the regional governing coalition in order to garner votes from supporters of bullfights and bull-baiting festivals throughout the Valencian community.
Convened by the Valencian chapter of Spain’s national Partido Animalista, known by the initials PACMA (Partido Animalista Contra el Maltrato Animal), the protesters read out the names of bulls that will be killed in bullfights during the city’s annual Fallas celebrations, which were inaugurated Sunday and will bring tens of thousands of tourists from Spain and abroad to the city over the next three weeks.
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The protesters used the occasion to denounce what they said are the anti-animal policies of the governing coalition of three left-of-center political parties in the Valencian community: the Partit Socialista del País Valencià (PSPV), which is the regional branch of Spain’s national Socialist party (PSOE); the regional Compromís coalition, which includes the Bloc Nacionalista Valencià; and the local Valencian affiliate of four-year-old national anti-austerity party Podemos
According to PACMA, the Socialist-led coalition is currently redacting a decree that will legalize the controversial bous embolats festivals throughout Valencia, in which bulls with flaming torches attached to their horns are taunted in bullrings or as they run through the streets of local towns and villages.
The animal-rights party also criticized the use of taxpayer monies to subsidize bullfighting and other bull festivals in Valencia, noting that the government of the local Valencia province that includes the capital last year increased its subsidy of the downtown Plaza de Toros and accompanying bullfighting school by 50 percent to total more than 1 million euros.
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