With the issue of bullfighting continuing to divide Spain, one reason that anti-bullfighting groups could cite in their favor is the danger to the life of the bullfighter or matador. On Monday, the goring by a Mexican Bull of fighter Antonio Romero just added to the argument that bullfighting is a violent sport wherein both the animal and man are hurt.

Pain in the behind

The New York Post reported that the bull, which gored Antonio Romero, pierced its 11-inch horn into the rectum of the matador. At the start of the bullfight in Mexico City, he was still in control as the matador goaded the bull by using the muleta or the red cloth.

However, as the matador tried to get the bull to pivot around him, the bull instead moved back, caught Romero on the arm and knocked him off balance.

The matador, who was on the ground, stumbled back to avoid the bull’s thrust, but the bull threw the muleta off and pierced his backside. Other Matadors, when they saw Romero down, rushed to the arena to save their fellow bullfighter. They rushed Antonio Romero to the hospital for treatment.

Push for ban

Antonio Romero is still lucky because he survived the bull attack. In July 2016, Spanish bullfighter Victor Barrio was gored to death by a toro in front of horrified spectators. Because he was gored on the chest by the bull, the 29-year-old matador was declared dead by a surgeon at the Teruel bullring late that night.

Although he was the first bullfighter to die in the ring in Spain in about 30 years, hundreds of matadors, not only in Spain but in other Latin American countries also where bullfighting is considered part of the national culture, have been injured.

The incident made animal liberation groups push for a ban, not only on bullfights but also on bull runs.

They held a demonstration a day before the start of the annual San Fermines Festival in Pamplona, Spain, which takes place from July 7 to 14. Before the festival, members of the AnimaNaturalis organization staged in front of the Valencia city hall on March 13 a protest against bullfighting. They cited that since 1924, 15 people have died after the bull gored them during the festival.

Legal battle

The battle against bullfights has gone beyond the arena and city hall but has moved to the courts. In late November, a constitutional court in Spain declared that bullfighting is part of the country’s cultural heritage. In effect, it reversed a ban on bullfighting made by the Catalonia region.

However, for Spanish bullfighters, the gory sport is part of the nation’s cultural tradition. It is something the Matadors are willing to risk their life for. Bullfighting “demands respect” while it goes through a crucial time, Juan Diego Vicente, president of Spain’s Bullfighters’ Union, said, BBC reported.