Victor Barrio: Death Of Spanish Bullfighter Sparks Debate About Tradition

The death of bullfighter Victor Barrio on Saturday during an annual festival in the eastern Spanish town of Teruel has ignited a debate among netizens about the ancient tradition.

Barrio was attacked by a 1,200 lb. bull named Lorenzo at the Feria del Angel. The bull first gored Barrio’s thigh, and then pierced his chest, damaging his lungs and heart, the Daily Mail reported.

Barrio’s wife was one of the people present at the venue during the event. Thousands of viewers across the country also watched the horrific incident live on television.

Barrio was pronounced dead shortly after being rushed to a local hospital.

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According to USA Today, Victor Barrio is the first professional bullfighter to be killed during a show in about three decades. Nonetheless, his death has become a trending topic online.

On Twitter, some pro-animal rights users have praised Victor Barrio’s death as a sign that the bullfighting tradition should be ended.

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While Barrio is the first matador to be killed in the ring since 1985, two banderilleros, who pierce the shoulders of the bull with flags, were killed during a bullfight in 2012, the Daily Mail reported.

Barrio was not the only casualty of a bull in Spain this weekend. According to DW, on Saturday, a man was gored and killed by a bull during in Valencia. Another man also sustained injuries after being attacked by a bull on the same day in Pamplona, northern Spain.

Meanwhile, on Sunday, Reuters reported that two people were gored at the San Fermin festival in Pamplona. The victims reportedly sustained injuries to the neck and chest.

The death of Victor Barrio and the other bull-related incidents in Spain this weekend is likely to amplify the debate about whether bullfighting should continue and be supported by state funds. Currently, bullfighting is banned in some areas in Spain, like Catalonia and the Canary Islands, the Mirror reported.

According to the Associated Press, up to 17 Spanish towns and cities have also slashed funding for bullfights and condemned the practice.

The protest against bullfighting has been gaining momentum over the years. The cause has been linked with Spain’s far-left Podemos party. In 2013, after Spanish authorities passed a bill recognizing bullfighting as a cultural heritage, animal rights activists condemned the move, the Telegraph reported.

Following Victor Barrio’s death on Saturday, there was an outpouring of condolences in the Spanish media.

Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy expressed condolences to Barrio’s family on Twitter.

“My condolences to the family and colleagues of Victor Barrio, the deceased bullfighter this evening in Teruel. Rest in Peace,” he wrote.

A bullfighting ring in Madrid called Las Ventas, where Barrio trained, has also expressed condolences to his family and friends.

Barrio’s wife Raquel Sanz has thanked everyone for their support on Twitter.

“I cannot reply to you, I have no words. My life has gone. I have no strength, although I have a lot of thanks.”

She posted a poem by Spanish poet Jose Leon as a tribute to Barrio.

According to the Daily Mail, Victor Barrio chose to become a bullfighter when he was 20-years-old. He claims to have been “ashamed” of pursuing his dream of being a bullfighter at first and worked at a golf course.

Despite being relatively new to the bullfighting, Barrio has been described as one of the top matadors in the country. Following his death, Spanish bullfighter Enrique Ponce described Victor Barrio as a “Great Matador.”

In his final message on Twitter last week, Barrio uploaded a picture of himself in the ring with a bull. He captioned the photo “With the mind set on Teruel.”

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[Photo by AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza]