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Judges Oblige Spanish Government To Include Bullfighting In Cultural Grant For Youth

 Spaniards can take advantage a "Youth Culture Voucher" to attend bullfights.

Young Spaniards can now apply for a cultural grant to go to bullfights. The Spanish Supreme Court has ruled that the government’s decision to exclude bullfighting contests from the coverage of the Voucher lacked justification and has therefore annulled it.

 Young spaniards can now take advantage of the government’s 400-euro Youth Culture Voucher to encourage cultural activities can spend the money on going to the bullfights.

 The court’s administrative disputes chamber assessed the appeal lodged by the Fundación del Toro de Lidia against the 2022 decree which established the rules governing this grant enabling young people to take part in cultural activities.

A man with the heifer on his head during the festival of the heifer, on 28 January, 2023 in Colmenar Viejo, Madrid, Spain. Cultural activities are now included in a Spanish voucher program for youth. RAFAEL BASTANTE/GETTY IMAGES 

 Likewise, the court annulled the criteria that established that bullfighting shows should not be subsidized, and, given this, the cultural voucher can include them. Despite the Supreme Court ruling, legal sources inform EFE that Pedro Sánchez’s executive might still avoid having to add the bulls to the voucher, if it justifies their exclusion in a more solid way.

The subsidy critieria also established that, aside from bullfighting, sporting events, the acquisition of stationery products, curriculum textbooks, IT software and hardware, as well as other computer and electronic products, are not included in the cultural offer. It additionally left out artistic material, musical instruments, fashion and gastronomy from the Voucher.

The Supreme Court argues that it has no jurisdiction to decide whether bullfighting spectacles are cultural manifestations. In fact, it points out that Spain’s legislator has also limited bullfighting as a cultural heritage and that the Constitutional Court in response made clear the cultural nature of bullfighting. That is why the Supreme Court understands that neither in the appeal lodged nor in the royal decree on the voucher are there sufficient reasons to justify the exclusion of the bulls from the cultural offer. “We don’t think the statements in the preamble are sufficient for this purpose, since they only say that bullfighting shows are promoted by other means and that each administration has the ability to freely decide the sectors or activities of public interest or utility that it promotes and in what way it does so,” reads the court ruling.

 Spanish bullfighter Pablo Aguado performs a pass to a bull with a capote during the Feria de San Miguel bullfighting festival at La Maestranza bullring in Seville on September 25, 2022 in this file photo. CRISTINA QUICLER/GETTY IMAGES

On the other hand, the Supreme Court points out that “there is no identity or connection” between bullfighting shows and the other activities that have been left out of the 400-euro youth subsidy “that allows us to deduce the reason for the exclusion”. The court also warns that the “cultural voucher has a projection that is general” and in addition, it could be considered that bullfighting qualifies for inclusion, “considering that the voucher looks to the future represented by young people, a perspective that is fundamental when it comes to the conservation and promotion of cultural heritage”. “There is not, therefore, between the actions reviewed and the youth cultural voucher the necessary proportion to conclude that bullfighting is given a treatment that is balanced with the significance that the legislator has recognized,” concludes the Supreme Court.

Produced in association with El Nacional En.

(Additional reporting provided by El Nacional En)

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