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Money from the ‘correbous’ to alleviate the effects of the coronavirus crisis

Forced to alter or suspend their patron saint festivities due to the coronavirus crisis, several Catalan municipalities have canceled the traditional ones this year correbous and they have allocated the budget items for bullfighting festivities (which amount to 850,000 euros per year throughout the community, according to animal groups) to measures against the effects of the pandemic.

One of them is Stained glass windows, the only municipality in the province of Girona where they are still being held and which, in March, had to suspend the popular consultation in which it had to be decided whether to keep the traditional celebration or to end it forever. The Consistory decided to allocate the more than 8,000 euros budgeted for this purpose to alleviate some of the effects of Covid-19 in the town. Aid to families for summer activities after the confinement last spring or to cover the gratuity of some educational and cultural services have been some of the destinations of the money, explain sources from the City Council.

Similar measures have also been taken in various city councils of the Terres de Ebre (the southern regions of Tarragona), the Catalan epicenter of correbous, which, according to a study by the Rovira i Virgili University of 2019, suppose an economic impact of up to about seven million euros in the area.

Part of the 75,000 euros of the budget for the bullfighting events of the Amposta City Council (124,000 euros, according to animal rights) have been allocated to support the cultural sector of the city, while the rest has been used to defray measures such as aid of up to 500 euros to freelancers, small companies and entities affected by the closures , legal advice for citizens regarding all the procedures to request aid from the Administration or the increase in the amount of social emergency aid.

It is also the case of Sant Carles de la Rà pita. “When at the end of last May we saw that the rules of social distancing were going to prevent the normal development of the parties, we decided to suspend them and directly integrate the budget into that of the economic and social measures -such as direct aid or tax exemptions- that we already had launched to combat the crisis “, they explain from the City Council.

In Alcanar the last town of Catalua on the border with the Valencian Community, the City Council, the Bous Commission, the Festival Commission and other municipal entities agreed, in early April, to transfer the savings generated by the suspension of the May patron saint festivities to reduce the economic and social impact of the pandemic.

The director of the NGO AnimaNaturalis, Ada Gascan, values ​​the decision of these consistories, but demands that these measures be repeated “when the pandemic does not force them to do so.” The activist asks that bullfighting shows stop receiving “such large amounts of public money” that they could add to “health, employment, culture and aid policies for vulnerable families.”

The NGO has published an investigation on the budgets that the thirty Catalan city councils that organize correbous dedicated to this tradition. According to the animal rights entity, the annual amount is around 850,000 euros and in some cases it is higher than what the consistories make public. “The investigation is ongoing because we want to know what the amounts are throughout Spain,” explains its director.

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