Bullfighting rose to the top of animal rights controversy late Saturday, as matador Victor Barrio was gored to death before hundreds of horrified spectators at the festival Feria del Angel in Teruel, Spain.
Barrio’s death marks the century’s first matador to be killed during an event. The 1,200-pound Maños bull, called Lorenzo, tossed the man into the air, then gored him with a horn and pushed him along the ground before being distracted by helpers, and the matador carried out of the arena.
????‼???? “Brutal cornada” kill Torero Victor Barrio bullfighting in Teruel, Spain. pic.twitter.com/eiPBZeioQa
— Onlinemagazin (@OnlineMagazin) July 10, 2016
Lorenzo the bull had been stabbed several times before he hooked the matador, according to the Independent. The bull’s horn punctured the matador’s lung and severed an aorta. Barrio went into cardiac arrest and died at the hospital.
Barrio, 29, was considered a top matador and the goring was shown on live television.
The sport of bullfighting, called “The Shame of Spain,” has been under fire as a cruel tradition that should be put to rest.
Official statistics released by MundoToro in Spain and Revue Toros in France show a steady decline in the business, according to the Examiner.
The number of bullfighting events in Spain dropped from 2047 bullfights in 2003, to 903 in 2013.
— MaineAnimalCoalition (@animalcoalition) July 10, 2016
Diehard blood sport enthusiasts blame the animal rights movement on the decline in the centuries-old tradition.
Indeed, animal welfare organizations have a well-structured method of eliminating the activity. According to the Examiner, protests are arranged in several ways.
- By engaging in economic warfare.
- By mounting physical sieges of towns during bullfights.
- By using social media to bombard voters and government officials with evidence of animals being tortured prior to the bullfight and stabbed to death in the ring.
- By pressing legislators in France and the EU to take a stand commensurate with the will of the people.
Bullfighting is becoming more expensive due to the community law enforcement needed to control protesters. The protests are passive, as animal rights activists enter the arena during an event and just sit there. But they have to be physically removed. Costs to maintain these events are escalating as opposition to the torture of animals rises. The following is as stated in the Examiner.
“The hard costs for a bullfighting community to mobilize one police officer or SWAT cop for one day costs $130 over and above his regular salary. Added to that is the price of riot gear, transport, weapons, materials, communications equipment, cars and trucks. One hour of helicopter support can cost anywhere from $2000 to $13,000.”
— peta2 (@peta2) June 30, 2016
According to Humane Society International, one of the myths of bullfighting is that bulls are fierce animals by nature.
“On the contrary, bulls are generally calm, peaceful animals who tend to behave violently only when defending themselves or their territory. According to zoologist Jordi Casamitjana, bulls are very peaceful animals that spend most of their live[s] eating grass, sleeping and playing with each other… ‘ The breeders of bulls used in bullfights admit that these bulls are purposely bred to be aggressive, fierce, and to attack, not defend. “
Ex-matador D. Alvaro Múnera admitted that the matador has an extreme advantage.
“The dead bullfighters are very few; it is an insignificant number next to the bulls that are killed every day in the bullfights.”
Interest in the sport is waning, HSI said.
“According to a 2006 Investiga (formerly Gallup) survey titled ‘Interés por las corridas de toros’ [Interest in bullfights], 72.1 percent of Spaniards have no interest in bullfighting and Investiga expects interest to continue declining in the years ahead.”
Barrio was a trained professional and had been named the winner of San Isidro bullfighter by the Senior Club of Madrid, according to the Daily Mail. His wife, Raquel, was in the audience and witnessed the goring.
[Photo by Daniel Ochoa de Olza, File/AP]