Matadors state their claim to BSE cash

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The Independent Online

Europe's BSE crisis has struck the Spanish bullfighting industry, prompting unity among breeders, matadors and taurine vets who have demanded up to £10m compensation for revenue losses expected this season from halted sales of the vanquished beasts to butchers.

Europe's BSE crisis has struck the Spanish bullfighting industry, prompting unity among breeders, matadors and taurine vets who have demanded up to £10m compensation for revenue losses expected this season from halted sales of the vanquished beasts to butchers.

Bulls taken from the arena are traditionally sold to butchers. Delicacies such as bull's tale, testicles and ear stew are a part of Spain's national fiesta.

These dishes are likely to become folk memory because the industry has proposed not to sell any bull killed this season for butcher's meat and has agreed to destroy parts of the bull at risk of BSE infection.

In return, breeders and managers are seeking compensation of £240 per bull, a sum that could reach £10m. The prestige of bullfighting has already suffered after unprecedented number of bulls were sent from the ring unfit to fight last year because they kept falling over.

Government action has compounded Spanish alarm over BSE in recent days. Beef producers sued the Health Minister, Celia Villalobos, for defamation on Tuesday after she warned against making stew with beef bones; and the Galician agriculture minister, Castor Gago, was sacked on Wednesday for dumping 300 dead cows in a disused mine.

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