A major event to kick-start Madrid's bullfighting season has been canceled after the festival's matadors were gored by bulls. Warning: What you are about to see is graphic.
In a shocking upset, Las Ventas arena's two half-ton bulls skewered or trampled all three of the festival's matadors. (Via Euronews)
Now, for the first time in 35 years, the San Isidro festival has been suspended due to the severity of the bullfighters' injuries. (Via USA Today)
The first fighter, David Mora, suffered the worst injuries as a black bull named Deslio clipped him on a pass before ramming its horn deep into his leg and flipping him into the air. (Via The Sydney Morning Herald)
A bullfighting correspondent for Spanish newspaper El Pais wrote: "The somersault was horrific, shocking, chilling, impossible for the human eye to witness yet evident to the mind."
The second and third fighters were also gored by the second bull, leading to the stunning cancellation not seen at the prestigious Las Ventas arena since 1979.
About 2,000 bullfights are held in Spain every year, but the sport's popularity is falling as Catalonia and the Canary Islands banned the 4,000-year-old tradition.
The BBC explains, "Opponents describe the blood-soaked pageants as barbaric" — after a successful fight, the matador finishes the bull with a sword — "while fans ... say the tradition is an ancient art form deeply rooted in national history."
ESPN's outspoken sports commentator Keith Olbermann calls tradition an excuse to kill animals in front of bloodthirsty crowds.
"These idiots in Spain think this is sports. More than that, they think putting a bull in a ring, angering it and terrifying it then having it try to escape a guy who happens to have a sword is somehow fair."
Mora is reportedly in stable condition while the other two matadors have already been released from the hospital. In spite of objections from animal welfare groups, Spain's congress granted bullfighting cultural heritage status last year to protect it from further bans.