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Friday, 20 July, 2001, 10:20 GMT 11:20 UK
Bullfighters win tussle with government
Bullfight
The strike would have halted major bullfighting festivals
A threatened strike by Spanish bullfighters over mad cow disease has been averted after the government agreed new compensation measures.

The bullfighters and breeders were angry that their traditional right to sell the meat from slain bulls was banned under anti-BSE measures.

They claimed the loss of income was threatening their livelihoods, and were planning to start their first nationwide strike next week.

fighter and bull
Bull carcasses were providing cash vital to small venues
But after talks between the fighters and the government, new compensation measures were agreed.

The industry will now get government subsidies to help soften the impact of the lost sales.

Similar subsidies were being paid earlier in the year, but were halted on 1 July.

The government has pledged 2.5bn pesetas ($13m) in subsidies as well as compensation for each bull-fighting festival, a government spokesman said.

Crucial cash

If the strike had gone ahead, it would have forced the cancellation of some of the country's most important bullfighting festivals, traditionally held during the summer.

In the past, this meat was sold by local butchers and provided an important source of cash for the bullfight's promoters, especially in smaller towns.

A bull weighing 500kg (1,100lb) is worth up to 50,000 pesetas ($250).

The tail and testicles are considered particular delicacies.

But in February the government said meat had to be incinerated under European Union regulations, because of the risk of infection with BSE.


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See also:

22 Dec 00 | Media reports
BSE threat to bullfighting
13 Jun 01 | Europe
Europe 'has no BSE epidemic'
22 Feb 01 | Europe
Governments sued over BSE
19 Feb 01 | Europe
Fighting bulls off the menu
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