On 20 November 2020, French Member of the European Parliament (MEP) France Jamet of the Identity and Democracy Group posed a written parliamentary question to the European Commission:
“People who rear bulls and horses in the Camargue in France, known as manadiers, have been hit hard by the lockdown. In Occitanie alone, almost 800 Camargue bullfights – in which the bulls are not killed – have had to be cancelled. As well as that, there is the running of the bulls (abrivado), the herding of the bulls back into pens (bandido) and other bull runs (encierros), which normally accompany fêtes, animating the villages of Languedoc and Provence and people’s daily lives as they continue our traditions.
These cultural events bring in around EUR 26 million to the region every year. Overall, local agritourism operators, whose peak months are from May to September, are having to cope with losing 95% of their revenue. In desperation, breeders are starting to slaughter their animals because they do not have enough money to feed them.
This economic and cultural sector (la bouvine) is one on which thousands of jobs depend, but it will collapse if it does not receive sufficient aid. Given the risk of this sector disappearing and the imminent prospect of the mass slaughter of herds of an already endangered cattle species (raço di biòu), does the Commission intend to allocate some of its European support funding to the manadiers of France?”
On 29 January 2021, Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski responded on behalf of the European Commission stating: “The Commission is aware that the sectors devoted to rearing bulls and horses in the Camargue as are in other regions of EU are seriously hit by the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.
The Commission proposed a set of measures to address the consequences of the lockdown and, in particular, a specific measure to support farmers and agro-food businesses under the Rural Development Fund (EAFRD) by providing liquidity.
For any other type of economic and cultural support, the Commission would like to underline that the EAFRD funding is managed jointly with the Member States, under shared management.
In this context, the selection of projects and the support of beneficiaries is the responsibility of the managing authority, i.e., in this case the Regional Councils of Occitanie and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur.”
Photo Credit : https://pixabay.com/photos/cavalcade-camargue-3711853/