THE animal rights group PACMA have condemned a decision by the Spanish government to award bullfighter Juan José Padilla €30,000.
Known as ‘the Pirate’, Padilla, 45, is being honoured for his 25 years of service to the sport with Spain’s National Bullfighting Award, granted by the Ministry of Culture and Sports.
But PACMA said Andalucia’s right-hand matador, who has been gored by bulls 39 times, is simply being awarded ‘for maltreating and killing animals for 25 years’.
Again the group called for the abolition of bullfighting, speaking of their ‘disgust’ at Padilla’s recognition, and calling his new honour the ‘Institutionalised Animal Abuse Award’.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Culture and Sports say Padilla ‘represents the recognition of values of bullfighting, such as effort, dedication and ability to excel, which are projected beyond the ring.’
This year saw Padilla’s retirement from bullfighting and the one-eyed matador is currently completing a farewell tour of the Americas, which began in Mexico.
Padilla, originally from Jerez de la Frontera, nearly lost his life in the bullring in 2011 when a bull ripped his eye out after the animal mauled him on the ground.
Seven years on and this year saw the veteran bullfighter nearly killed again, when a bull ‘scalped’ him in July, causing the fighter to receive 40 stitches to his head.
Padilla spoke recently of his career and said: “I am proud of having embarked on a hard, difficult profession, but at the same time it has given me a huge reward.”