A Spanish matador is having his image circulated around the internet.
In the footage, he was shown wiping bloodied tears from beneath the eyes of a bull he had just finished fighting. He then proceeded to kill the animal.
The internet is outraged by the gesture, calling the matador perverse, cruel, and malicious. The footage is being shown as reason the sport of bullfighting should be banned.
The fight shown in the footage was at a festival in Seville, Spain at the Real Maestranza bullring.
Bullfighting in Spain dates back to 711 A.D. The sport is bloody and is a divisive issue across the internet, and in Spain itself.
Some people say the sport is animal cruelty and is outdated. There are others who feel it shouldn’t be something they let go of because of the tradition’s cultural significance to Spain.
Shame on you Seville. You are an embarrassment to Spain and a hideous example of animal torture 😡 #banbullfighting Matador wipes away ‘tears’ of bloodied bull before killing it https://t.co/IVPKbBJi8k via @MailOnline
— Jane Pearce (@Jane_Pearce) May 13, 2019
Spanish bullfighting fans felt the gesture shown by the matador, Morante de la Puebla, was a sign of respect for the bull.
A very large portion of the internet did not see it this way, especially those on twitter.
The leader of Spain’s Animalist Party Against Mistreatment of Animals tweeted many things about the incident.
In one tweet, she said, “The matador is just disguising his lack of empathy. Abolish bullfighting now!”
The hashtag “#banbullfighting” quickly became a popular tag.
They rarely showed the full footage of the fight, as it was too disturbing. People preferred to show screen caps and recap the events of the fight.
The video shows the bull with four spiked “banderillas” sticking out of its back when the matador goes to wipe the animal’s bloodied tears.
Then the matador performs the final death act.
While many of the people tweeting about the issue were from Spain, there were also animal activists worldwide joining in the discussion. Amongst them was Ricky Gervais.
While he is most famously known as an English actor and stand-up comedian, he is also known on social media for condemning the abuse of animals.
He took to Twitter to call the matador some unflattering names.
— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) May 13, 2019
He was not the only one. While the discussion is in part about banning bullfighting, it’s also about the matador himself. One tweet called him “the face of pure evil”.
Many of the tweeters felt there was no justification for bullfighting that could make up for stabbing an animal multiple times only to kill it for sport.