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Europe's new wave of animal activism -- saving bulls and coddling fish

May 12, 2008 |  5:19 pm

Bullfighting_3Animal activism, it seems, is catching on in Europe. A report in the Houston Chronicle explains that the animal rights movement is affecting, among other things, bullfighting.

Spain's iconic sport, bullfighting, is known for its ferocity and flair. But the centuries-old spectacle may have met its match in an equally tenacious opponent: Europe's animal rights movement.

For the first time Thursday, doping tests were introduced at Spain's most prestigious bullfighting festival after allegations that bulls are given drugs to tip the balance in favor of the matador. Under pressure and falling ratings, Spanish TV has dropped bullfighting from its schedule.

The increasingly vocal anti-bullfighting lobby says it's only a matter of time before the sport is relegated to the history books.

"People in Europe are finally beginning to accept the animal welfare message," said Kate Fowler-Reeves, head of campaigns for Animal Aid, the U.K.'s largest animal rights group.

In Switzerland, dogs are about to benefit from a little activism as well. Starting Sept. 1, a law will require dog owners to take (and pay for) a two-part training course. Among other things, dog owners will be instructed on how to properly walk a dog on the street. For more on those wacky Swiss and their new rules about "social species," check out this report from the Times of London:

GoldfishFrom guinea pigs to budgerigars, any animal classified as a “social species” will be a victim of abuse if it does not cohabit, or at least have contact, with others of its own kind. The new regulation stipulates that aquariums for pet fish should not be transparent on all sides and that owners must make sure that the natural cycle of day and night is maintained in terms of light. Goldfish are considered social animals, or Gruppentiere in German.

-- Alice Short

Bullfighting photo: Paul White / Associated Press

Goldfish photo: Carlos Chavez / Los Angeles Times

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