(TMU) – A celebrated matador in Spain has sustained possibly the most brutal injury of his career after he was gored directly in the anus after a bull fought back after he stabbed the creature during one of Spain’s first post-lockdown bullfights.
Enrique Ponce was engaging in the controversial national pastime at the El Puerto de Santa Maria’s bullring in southwest Spain when the animal repelled the attempt to kill it.
Ponce had just stabbed the bull when the creature turned on the father-of-two and plunged his horn directly in his butt, lifting him into the air and dropping him.
Ponce eventually laid face-down on the ground and covered his neck and head to prevent being fatally injured by the wounded beast.
Gracias Toro, te jodes Enrique Ponce. pic.twitter.com/5OsS63kNQf
— EspaRRoquí (@Esparroqui) August 7, 2020
This wasn’t the first time the famous 48-year-old bullfighter has sustained injuries in his long and storied career, which began in 1988 when he was a teenage novice.
In 2014, Ponce’s collarbone and ribs were shattered in a severe goring incident that saw him stricken directly in the right armpit. Last year he also faced serious injury after a bull tossed him into the air, tearing his ligaments and leaving him with a 10-centimeter buttock injury.
The latest incident took place during the 140th anniversary of the Real Plaza de Toros de El Puerto de Santa María, and is the first time Ponce had returned to the ring following the phased reopening of the country following the nationwide lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic that was declared on March 14.
Fortunately, Ponce was largely unharmed by the unpleasant incident.
Certain regions of Spain in phase two of the health emergency can fill their bullrings to one-third capacity, up to a maximum of 400 people, while regions in phase three are able to open at 50 percent capacity or 800 spectators.
While some Spaniards had clamored for the return of the national pastime, animal rights campaigners have long derided bullfighting as a shocking display of animal cruelty.
— Wasted Hippo (@Already2Wasted) August 7, 2020
“During a typical bullfight, several men taunt and stab a bull with harpoon-like banderillas until he becomes weakened from blood loss,” animal rights group PETA wrote in a press release last year. “Then, the matador stabs the exhausted animal with a sword, and if the bull doesn’t die straight away, he’ll commonly use a dagger to cut the animal’s spinal cord. Many bulls are paralyzed but still conscious as their ears or tails are cut off as trophies.”
Bullfighting organizations like the Fundación del Toro de Lidia have complained that they have been particularly hard-hit by the lockdown, with some breeders apparently killing over 400 creatures in the span of only a week, breeder Victorino Martín told The Guardian.
Animal rights campaigners have set up a petition titled “No bailout for bullfighting” which has sought to prevent the Spanish government from offering financial assistance to the bullfighting industry.
“Every year, almost 10,000 bulls die after being tortured in the bullrings, and thousands more, along with cows and heifers, are harassed and mistreated in towns throughout Spain,” the petition read.
— Cē Ācatl Tōpīltzin (@AdalbertoRdz1) July 22, 2020
Across Spain and Latin America, support for the bullfights has been on the wane. While bullfighting is banned in countries like Argentina, Canada, Cuba, Denmark, Italy and the United Kingdom, the pastime continues in Spain, France, Portugal, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, and Ecuador.
Campaigners have pointed to the low attendance numbers at recent bullfights in Spain as proof that the cruel sport is no longer being enjoyed by most of he public.
The bullfighting lobby has been clamoring for months, asking for public money and demanding to be able to hold a bullfight. And what happened? It has been a total failure, the alleged fans have not responded.
“The bullfighting lobby has been crying for months about their business, demanding that they be given public funds and permission to hold their bullfights. And what happened? It has been a total failure, the supposed fans haven’t materialized,” said Marta Esteban Miñano, the director of Animal Guardians, according to Kaosenlared. “How is it possible that this cruel bankrupt business is still being subsidized with public funds?”