Teenage ‘Bullfighter’ Gored to Death at Spanish Festival

May 2, 2019 Updated: May 2, 2019

A teenager has died after being gored by a bull during a spring festival in Spain.

Fran Gonzalez, 19, was the second person killed by a bull during several days of a traditional festivals, which often feature bull running and bull fighting of various traditions.

Gonzalez was gored in the groin by a bull on May 1, and lost consciousness on the scene, before being taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead a short while later.

Gonzalez was a regular participant in a non-violent style of bullfighting exhibitions, sometimes described as “bull leaping,” reported Levante.

According to El Espanol, the bull gored Gonzalez moments after it was released from its pen, as it leaped violently and aggressively into the arena, “looking for trouble.”

Organizers of the San Vicente Ferrer festival temporarily suspended the festivities as a mark of respect.

Gonzalez had already earned himself a reputation locally as a recortadore, a type of bullfighter who, unlike the matador, takes on the bull sans cape or weapon in a show of athleticism and bravado.

Recortadores compete to earn points for daring and skill as they perform acrobatic moves to dodge the charging animal, which is allowed to return to the pen unharmed.

A recortador
A “recortador” jumps over a bull during a bullfight show at the Plaza Monumental bullring in Barcelona on Sept. 25, 2009. (Lluis GeneAFP/Getty Images)

Last week a 74-year-old man died after being gored by a bull during a festival in Vejer de la Frontera near Cadiz in southwest Spain.

Injuries during Spanish bull running festivities are fairly common, when the public test their athletic prowess, reactions, and courage against several bulls released down narrow streets.

bull running
Participants run next to a fighting bull on the third day of the San Fermin bull run festival in Pamplona, northern Spain, on July 9, 2018. (Jose Jordan/AFP/Getty Images)

In the bullfighting traditions that pit a bull against a matador and his companions, armed with red capes, lances, and swords, injuries are fairly common, but deaths are rare.

For 30 years, not a single Spanish bullfighter was killed in the ring, until 29-year-old Victor Barrio—live on national television—was caught in the chest by the horns of a bull in 2016.

In 2013, 31 matadors were gored in bullfights in Spain in one year, according to The Telegraph.

Last January, a Colombian man was gored to death during one of Colombia’s “corralejas” event, which features bullfighting. In the event, contestants bait the animal with red capes before attempting to evade the charging bull.

Jorge Barrios, a construction worker, wasn’t able to get out of the way and was skewered by the bull’s horn. Some people said that he might have been drunk when he tried to compete, according to Metro.

According to the Humane Society International, an animal rights group, bullfights are outdated.

“Bullfights are not ‘fair fights’ between a bull and a matador, but highly staged forms of animal cruelty, sanctioned and subsidized by governments. These outdated spectacles perpetuate the idea that injuring and killing an animal for amusement is acceptable,” the group’s website states.

“Events still take place in Spain, France, Portugal, Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, Ecuador, and Mexico,” it says.

Follow Simon on Twitter: @SPVeazey
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