Document type: answerfrom the European Commission to question E-002073/23
Authors: question: Miguel Urbán Crespo (The Left). Answer: Vice-President Šuica on behalf of the European Commission
Question : Promoting animal abuse for minors
Various private companies offer promotions or discounts for minors to be able to access enclosed spaces where animals are abused and where people may be injured or killed. Some of these promotions make it possible to watch a bullfight for just one euro.
The Committee on the Rights of the Child recommended that Spain prohibit ‘the participation of children under 18 years of age as bullfighters and as spectators in bullfighting events’. It included this matter in its concluding observations. These promotions are at odds with the recommendation.
I therefore ask the Commission:
- Will the Commission align itself with the concluding observations on this specific issue made by the Committee in recent years?
- Does the Commission believe that Spain is complying with child protection when it is not preventing such promotions?
- Is the Commission planning any measures to ensure the effective protection of minors from content that is potentially harmful to their mental health?
Answer: The protection and promotion of the rights of the child is a core objective of the EU, as enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU (the Charter) and reaffirmed in the EU Strategy on the Rights of the Child.
This strategy highlighted that childhood is a crucial stage in life in determining future physical and mental health. This has been taken up and looked at closely in the latest Communication on a comprehensive approach to mental health.
The focus of the initiative is to support Member States in reaching out and involving vulnerable groups, including children and young people. There is a dedicated chapter on boosting their mental health with four flagship initiatives.
The Charter applies to Member States only when they are implementing EU law. There is no EU legislation regarding the welfare of animals used in shows, exhibitions, competitions or sporting events since such matter does not fall within EU competences.
In the absence of a link with the implementation of EU law, it is for Member States, including their judicial authorities, to ensure that fundamental rights are effectively respected in accordance with their national legislation and international human rights obligations.
The respect of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child by the States which are a party to it is monitored by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.
Spain has ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a communications Procedure, which allows for individual complaints.
As announced in the EU Strategy on the Rights of the Child, the Commission will present an initiative on Integrated Child Protection Systems. A public consultation on this topic is open until 20 October 2023.