Death of a bullfighter

OP blogger Marianne Hill on the death of bullfighter Victor Barrio yesterday

LAST UPDATED: 10 Jul, 2016 @ 16:34

GORED TO DEATH: Victor Barrio
GORED TO DEATH: Victor Barrio

YESTERDAY a young man lost his life live on TV. A shocking occurrence. But are people mourning his death? No, instead it is being celebrated because this particular young man was Victor Barrio, a 29 year old bullfighter who was killed during a bullfight in Teruel, part of a festival in the east of Spain.

Yesterday and now again today my Facebook feed is full of people sharing links to articles about this and video clips of the actual moment he was fatally gored. Sadly, I wasn’t surprised to see that the majority, if not all of the comments posted on these links are full of hatred for Barrio, with hundreds of comments applauding his death and wishing the same to all bullfighters and even the audiences themselves. One comment about his death even stated, “The best thing for him! The only thing that would make it better is if there were a fire in the bullring and the doors were locked so that all the participants and spectators suffer and die together.” Really?

I too despise bullfighting. It is an abhorrent sport. I could never effectively write the words to communicate exactly how much I hate it. I see no entertainment value in seeing any animal tortured and killed. I, like most of us, feel physically sick at seeing any animal hurt or abused and would personally love nothing more than to see bullfighting and all the many other ‘sports’ and festivals, not just in Spain but all around the world, that involve any form of animal cruelty to be banned. However, I would never wish death or suffering on any human, just as I wouldn’t wish this on any animal.

Within my class of young children at school I have the son of a Spanish bullfighter, a very famous bullfighter. While this father is not a friend of mine and I am not close to him, he is a person, in fact a very lovely person. While I don’t agree with what he does this doesn’t take away from the fact that he is just a loving family man with a wife and a four-year-old son who chooses to do something that I  personally don’t like. Does this mean I would be happy if he were to die in the ring? Would I rejoice in the fact he has died doing the sport that so repulses me? Of course not.

In recent times death has become so prevalent in the news; terrorist attacks, high school shootings, child abuse deaths, there is so much tragic news every day in the world. But we mustn’t lose sight of the fact that life is a precious thing and should be valued as such.

No, I didn’t like what Victor Barrio chose to devote his life to. Yes, I feel strongly that bullfighting should be banned. But do I rejoice in the fact that a young man was gored, and soon after lost his life, so publicly and on live television, undoubtedly viewed by his family and friends? No I don’t. For that would be heartless and if we can regard the loss of any life so flippantly and with such fervour then I despair of the future for this world.

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  1. It’s a sport that’s a fight to the death right? So cheering the winner and goading the looser isn’t wrong. Normally with these types of matches the looser doens’t come back I understand… there’s too much at steak.

  2. I hate bullfighting and would never go to one. However, as a foreigner, I am not comfortable with telling the Spanish what to do in their own country or suggesting they ban it. I am happy to ask them to stop demolishing innocent people’s houses and to stop poisoning cats in the towns but this is my own personal red line because it creeps into the territory of culture, demolishing houses does not.

    You can’t ban things just because you don’t like them, Tony Blair did that and look where it got him.

    • Hi Jane,
      I am not asking the Spanish to ban bullfighting, merely expressing my wish that, in an ideal world all cruel sports would be banned. I understand this is a cultural issue but it is not one that I can personally understand or feel comfortable with and so I, like you, have never been to a bullfight. My feelings are the same regarding festivals involving animals all around the world not just in Spain. I am an animal lover and so can’t condone any such practices. Thanks for your comment, Jane. I appreciate you taking the time to write.

  3. There is no message of good over evil. The bull defended itself and the provocateur died. No bravery, heroism or glory pertained. The event was an avoidable tragedy brought about by an anachronistic, cruel tradition of blood lust masquerading as religious allegory.

  4. Thank you everyone for your likes and comments. It has been interesting to read your varying points of view and I appreciate you taking the time to read my thoughts and I enjoyed reading yours.

  5. Marianne Hill,
    lots of top Austrian and German Nazis responsible for the deaths of millions were very good family men and in person they were very charming – I appraise a person on their actions and how they live, obviously you don’t – your choice.

  6. Stuart, for some reason I can’t reply to your comment directly and so will have to write my reply here.
    While I do not believe that comparing a bullfighter to Nazi war criminals is at all relevant, I do understand the point you are making, that people judge others by their actions. Of course that is natural to all people, myself included. However, despite not approving of what Victor Barrio chose to do I will not use this as a reason to callously celebrate or find any satisfaction in his death. THAT is my choice and one that I will stick to steadfastly. Thank you for your comment and for your expressing your opinion.