Bull's horns set on fire after Boris Johnson opposes ban

Barbaric 'sport' sees animal tortured for entertainment in Madrid

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Credits: Rowan Griffiths/Daily Mirror

A terrified blazing bull is tortured for the entertainment of baying spectators.

Two flaming false horns filled his eyes with sparks, his ears with the roar of fire and his airways with smoke.

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Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson last week said a bullfight ban would be " political correctness gone mad ".

But we travelled to this mountain village, 100 miles north-east of Madrid, for the Toro Jubilo – to watch an animal being abused in a 400-year-old tradition said to show the power of the bull.

Near the village, police looking for animal rights protesters checked our passports. As the only non-Spaniards there, suspicions were raised. One organiser asked: "Why are you here?"

Inside the square 1,300 gathered, including babies in prams, crammed up against the 6ft metal fences surrounding the bullring . As 11.30pm, the time of the bull, neared the excitement mounted.

Credits: Rowan Griffiths/Daily Mirror

Rowan Griffiths/Daily Mirror

Credits: Rowan Griffiths/Daily Mirror

Rowan Griffiths/Daily Mirror

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A roar erupted as dozens of men, using an enormous rope, pulled the star of the show, Ladron – kicking, snorting and weighing 550kilos – into the arena.



Eyes bulging, he reared and bucked as he was tethered to a post. Imitation metal horns, covered with cloth coated in pitch and tar, were fastened to his head.

Torches lit the horns and to loud cheers, terror-stricken Ladron was cut free. To wild applause he thrashed around, his head ablaze, hoofs wildly kicking and his body contorted.

The bull thrust his head into the dirt, twisting it from side to side, and the flames on one horn died. Seconds later the other flame was extinguished in the same way, prompting groans and boos.

Credits: Rowan Griffiths/Daily Mirror

Rowan Griffiths/Daily Mirror

Credits: Rowan Griffiths/Daily Mirror

Rowan Griffiths/Daily Mirror

Credits: Rowan Griffiths/Daily Mirror

Rowan Griffiths/Daily Mirror

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With his chest and stomach heaving, jets of steam from his nostrils, Ladron stared down his tormentors. Dozens of youths leapt the barriers, using their jackets as makeshift matador capes.

After 30 minutes the exhausted beast was led away. One woman told me: "Don't worry. It will go back to the farm."

Yesterday, mayor Felipe Utrilla vowed the ritual would survive because of the support of the local community.

But Spanish animal charity Pacma vowed to halt the event "by legal means".

Credits: Rowan Griffiths/Daily Mirror

Rowan Griffiths/Daily Mirror

Credits: Rowan Griffiths/Daily Mirror

Rowan Griffiths/Daily Mirror

Credits: Rowan Griffiths/Daily Mirror

Rowan Griffiths/Daily Mirror

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Spanish hate it too

By MIMI BEKHECHI , Peta fountation

If Boris would take a moment to educate himself about bull festivals and bullfighting, he would know that they are barbaric events many Spaniards are working hard to end.

It has been banned in the Canaries and Catalonia, and more than 100 Spanish cities and towns have declared opposition to it.

A poll found 76% of Spaniards show no interest in bullfights and oppose the use of public funds to support them.

Heritage and entertainment never justify outright torture.