British comedian Ricky Gervais has called for bullfighting to be banned after learning of the death of 29-year-old Miguel Ruiz Pérez, who died after being gored during summer festivities in the town of Lerín, in the northeastern Navarre region.
“Poor terrified bull. Ban cruel sports,” he wrote on Monday in a retweet of a Daily Mirror video showing Ruiz Pérez attempting to outrun the animal in a makeshift bullring while hundreds of people looked on.
Gervais has since posted a video on his Facebook page in which he says: “If you decide to torture an animal to death, I hope it defends itself.” Describing the people who watch bullfights as morons, he adds: “If you choose to fight a bull for fun, fuck you.”
The comedian, who shot to fame a decade ago in The Office, dismissed arguments defending bullfighting on the grounds that it was tradition, noting that slavery, witchcraft and child sacrifice were also once regularly practiced: “We’ve moved on… it’s about fucking time you stopped.”
Gervais tweeted several times about bullfighting over the day: “A matador being killed by a bull is not the tragic bit. Torturing the bull for fun in the first place is the tragic bit.”
A matador being killed by a bull is not the tragic bit. Torturing the bull for fun in the first place is the tragic bit.— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) August 14, 2015
Just for the record, a bull killing a matador who chose to try to torture the poor animal, isn't murder. It's self defence. Case dismissed.— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) August 14, 2015
The video has since been shared around 10,000 times, with most people supporting Gervais’s position and calling for an end to bullfighting. Gervais is an active defender of animal rights, and recently joined a number of Hollywood stars in condemning the killing of Cecil the Lion in Zimbabwe last month by a US dentist.
“Animals don’t have a voice, but I do. And it’s a big one. My voice is for them and I will never be quiet as long as they are suffering,” he has said.
Growing numbers of Spanish celebrities are also calling for an end to bullfighting and the use of animals in festivities. La tortura no es culture (Torture isn’t culture) is an awareness drive initiated by PACMA, a political party that supports animal rights. Its campaign to ban the Toro de la Vega, an event dating back to medieval times in which a bull is ritually killed by residents of the town of Tordesillas, Valladolid province, each September 15, has been backed by actors and television personalities such as Dani Rovira, Jorge Javier Vázquez, Eva Isanta and David Muro.
“I find it abhorrent that people can enjoy the suffering of animals,” says Dani Rovira, star of last year’s hit Spanish comedy Ocho apellidos vascos. A demonstration is planned in Madrid for September 12 to call for an end to the Toro de la Vega.
Musicians and other artists have thrown their support behind a planned music festival in Tordesillas to coincide with the Toro de la Vega.