Matador Victor Barrio's bullring death reignites debate on controversial sport after shocking tragedy screened live on TV

Barrio, a household name in Spain, died after being mauled by an 83-stone bull in the first bullring death since 1987

By Richard Wheatstone
From the Daily Mirror - 9th July 2016

Matador Victor Barrio's bullring death reignites debate on controversial sport after shocking tragedy screened live on TV

The shocking death of bullfighter Victor Barrio - which was screened on live TV - has sent shockwaves around Spain and recharged debate over the controversial sport.

Barrio, 29, became the first matador killed in the ring since 1987 when he was gored by an 83-stone bull.

The incident was screened live on Spanish TV and Barrio's horrified wife watched on from the crowd at the event in Teruel, near Valencia.

Barrio was a household name in Spain, having become one of the country's top bullfighters since he first turned professional in 2012.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy led the tributes to Barrio, writing on Twitter: "My condolences to the family and friends of Victor Barrio, who died this evening in Teruel. Rest in peace. MR."

Fellow bullfighter Jose Manuel Perez said: "It is one card in the deck which bullfighters play every day.

"When we leave our homes, we say goodbye to our mothers and do not know whether we will see them again. It's very hard to take psychologically."

Barrios' hometown Sepúlveda has declared two days of official mourning following his death.

But his death sparked a less sympathetic reaction from others as debate rages in Spain over whether one of its most historic and iconic sports should be banned.

In last month's Spanish elections, the country's animal rights party PACMA won a new record support - 285,000 votes or 1.2 per cent of the electorate - after pledging to ban bullfighting.

Spaniard Carlos Sariano wrote: "He who celebrates Victor Barrio following his death is just as barbarian who enjoys the torture of a defenseless animal."

Paulina Pulgarin added: "Victor Barrio dies in bullfight. Animal and human lives lost by the cruel taste of a few."

Barrio died shortly after being rushed to hospital yesterday evening.

He first entered the ring in 2008 at the age of 21 and became professional four years later.

In a tragic last tweet on July 4, he wrote: "With the mind set on Teruel."

The last matador death was in 1987 when Jose Eslava Caceres was trapped against boards and his lungs pierced by the bull.