The mother of a bull who killed a Spanish matador at the weekend is set to be slaughtered, sparking a huge campaign to save the animal.
Victor Barrio became the first matador to die in the bullring in more than 30 years after he was struck by a bull’s horns on Saturday.
The 29-year-old matador’s death was shown live on television.
He was killed when a bull’s horn pierced his chest in front of spectators as he competed in a fight in the town of Teruel in the eastern region of Aragon.
The last matador to die in a bullfight in Spain was Jose Cubero in 1985.
Traditionally, the mother of the bull is destined to be killed to “kill off the bloodline”.
But animal rights activists have launched a campaign to save the animal’s life, using #SalvemosALorenza (#savelorenza).
Spanish animal rights organisation PACMA tweeted: “Kill the animals, the people and sentence to death the cows, which breed the bulls.”
PACMA, who reject the tradition “based on violence, revenge and blood” tweeted a picture of the bull with the caption “Don’t have enough blood already?”.
Hundreds of people have backed the campaign to save the bull’s mother.
It is believed that the bull who dealt the fatal blow to Barrio has already been slaughtered.
The fate of the bull’s mother is not clear, but reports are circulating that the animal died a few days ago of old age.
Bullfighting continues to divide public opinion in Spain.
In some areas it is considered a noble tradition, yet other regions, such as Catalonia, have banned the practice.
It is estimated that about 250,000 bulls are killed in bullfights, according to Humane Society International.
The controversial bloodsport involves a bull being stabbed multiple times by a matador in a bullring before eventually being slaughtered.
The bull’s ordeal begins days before he enters the ring. The animal is locked in a dark stable for two days before he is mutilated in order to weaken and disorientate him.
Such mutilations include shaving down his horns, rubbing Vaseline into his eyes and severing the tendons on the back of his neck to prevent him from lifting up his head, the League Against Cruel Sports reports.
Barrio’s widow, Raquel Sanz, thanked well-wishers for their support.
In a tweet she said: “Thanks to everyone. I cannot reply to you, I have no words. My life has gone, I have no strength, although I have a lot of thanks.”
Barrio’s death comes as a 28-year-old Spaniard was killed during a bull run in the southeastern village of Pedreguer, near Valencia.
A bull’s horn pierced his lung and heart as he was trying to help another runner during the event, in which a man was killed last year, Reuters reports.
Many of Spain’s towns hold summer festivals involving bulls, and several people die each year.
The San Fermin festival, in which bulls chase red-scarved runners through Pamplona’s cobbled streets during nine days of events, attracts thousands of revellers from Spain and overseas.
In Saturday’s run there, a 33-year-old Japanese man was gored in the chest and a 24-year-old Spanish man in the arm, while 12 others suffered minor injuries, the local government said on its website.
The Japanese man was in a stable condition in hospital, a spokesman for the festival said.