Over the last few years Spain has been gripped by the saga of Ratón, a Spanish fighting bull which has gored three people to death over the last four years.
Ratón (which means “mouse” in Spanish) claimed his first victim, a 56-year-old man from León, on 9th August 2006 during a fiesta in the Spanish city of Sagunto. Several more people were seriously injured, with the gory video finding its way onto YouTube where it has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times.
Further kills followed in 2008 - a 27 year old amateur matador in Valencia - and again just last month, this time a 29 year old man who had drunkenly stumbled into a bullring in the town of Xativa. He was tossed into the air several times before being trampled to death.
The high body count has made Ratón a Spanish media sensation, and has led bullfighting clubs to pay exceptionally high fees of up to €15,000 to feature him in their events.
The story of Ratón may have brought sell-out crowds and front-page headlines, but it has also shone a light on the real motivations of bullfight enthusiasts. Forget the nonsense about “art” and “beauty”, this story exposes the vulgar reality; aficionados are drawn by the same bloodlust which used to draw crowds onto the streets for a public hanging.