Noble art or brutal blood sport? Matador’s death reignites debate

Updated 2017-06-20 10:09:48 CGTN
Spanish matador Iván Fandi?o gets tripped up in his cape and falls during a bullfight in the French region of Landes, June 17, 2017.

Spanish matador Iván Fandi?o gets tripped up in his cape and falls during a bullfight in the French region of Landes, June 17, 2017.

Spanish matador Ivan Fandino died Saturday after being gored during a competition in Mont-de-Marsan, southwest France. While plenty of people mourned Fandino's death and praised his skill in the bullring, others questioned his risky job and lashed the cruelty of the tradition.

The tragedy occurred during the Aire-sur-l'Adour bullfighting festival when the 36-year-old tripped over his cape and fell to the ground. He was then rammed by the bull, with the animal puncturing his lung with its horn.

Fandino was taken to the hospital but suffered a heart attack in the ambulance and died later in the hospital, according to medical authorities.

The Spanish government and Spanish royal family extended their condolences. The royal family also called the matador a "great figure of bullfighting."

Screenshot of Spanish Royal Family on Twitter

However, while calling Fandino's death a "tragedy," Wendy Higgins from Humane Society International, called for bullfighting to be banned in France. "For the 1,000 bulls brutally killed in French bullfights every year… blood sports like this should be consigned to the history books," she told The Huffington Post.

The last professional matador to die in a bullfight was Victor Barrio, who was killed when the bull's horn pierced his chest live on television in July 2016.

Spanish newspaper El Pais reported that 33 matadors were killed by bulls in Spain in the past century.

Academic Garry Marvin told the BBC in 2014 that bullfighting is a "supremely dangerous art."

"If a normal person got into the ring with a fighting bull, I'd expect them to be severely gored or dead in a few moments," he said.

Last year, thousands of activists took to the streets of Spanish capital Madrid to demand an end to the controversial tradition of bullfighting, and the regional government of Castilla y Leon in Spain banned the killing of bulls at town festivals in June 2016.

The regional Catalan government in Spain voted for a ban on bullfighting locally in 2010, and it came into effect in 2012. However, Spain's Constitutional Court overturned the decision in October 2016.

Tens of thousands of Facebook users have shared diverse views on the topic on the BBC's page since it reported on Fandino's death.

"It sucks that he died and I feel sorry for his loved ones that will miss him. Death is one of the risks of this 'sport.' I would hope that people would stop participating in it. It's pretty barbaric," Ashley Jeppsen DePalma said.

"I wish this tradition stop very soon. Thanks for the support to bulls," Spaniard Eli Megias Ibanez commented.

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