The body count of matadors gored to death by raging bulls inside Spain’s infamous bullfighting rings is climbing at an unprecedented rate, causing many to see it as the end of the bloody sport.
Crazed matadors and giant bulls have dueled to death in Spain’s rings for centuries. However, never has the hand of death been so unfavorable to humans as in the recent months. Authorities are now being urged to ban the sport completely.
Francisco Rivera Ordonez is the latest casualty in what has been a summer of civilian death at the horns of enraged bulls. The matador, who for decades had been earning a living professionally in the bullfighting rings as his father had done 30 years before him, was gored by a 450 kilogram bull before thousands on Aug. 10.
During their duel, the bull’s 30 centimeter horn edged itself into Ordonez’s abdomen, sending him unconscious to the ground. Onlookers were horrified by the scene. Ordonez was quickly rushed to hospital for treatment.
Opponents of the popular sport have viewed Ordonez’s goring as a harsh reminder as to why the sport should be banned completely. Though doctors say he will survive, other have not been so lucky.
Every summer, Spanish cities are rife with the festival of “corrida” or the running of bulls. The bulls are chased around town before being guided to the rings where they are dispatched before thousands with swords and banderillas.
The sport has drawn many curious spectators and resulted in the slaughtering of thousands of bulls; 7,200 last year alone. However this year the tide has turned. Over the last two months, eight matadors have been gored to death by the bulls inside the fighting rings. Close to half a dozen others have been seriously maimed.
“The beginning of the end of bullfighting?” read the headlines of one newspaper El Diario, after Ordonez’ss maiming. Already two Spanish cities have banned the sport; Catalonia and the Canary Islands. A record 200,000 Catalonians signed a petition requesting the ban of the sport.
Animal rights activists are joining the fray, calling for the banning of the sport that “tortures” animals for amusement.
Ernest Hemingway, in his book “Death in the Afternoon” labeled the tradition “a decadent art in every way.” Hemingway said a matador “must have a spiritual enjoyment of the moment of killing. Killing cleanly and in a way which gives you esthetic pleasure and pride has always been one of the greatest enjoyments of a part of the human race.”
Bullfighting is a tradition that has been termed barbaric and belonging to the middle age. Through torturing bulls and spearing them till they fall, Spanish townspeople derive great joy and a sense of the vibrancy of their culture. However, as the casualties continue to increase, the tradition could be fast approaching its end.