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Controversial Bullfighter Narrowly Survives Goring (Photo)

A French bullfighter who caused global controversy in 2015 when she was pictured holding up the severed ears of a dead animal narrowly escaped with her life Oct. 16.

Lea Vicens was thrown from her horse by a bull at an event in Zaragoza, Spain, but managed to scramble to safety, Daily Mail reported.​

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Vicens had already stabbed the animal twice with her lance. However, when it charged for a third time, it knocked the 31-year-old from her horse and pinned her momentarily to the ground.

She made it out alive after some other matadors helped her and watched the bull.

Vicens provoked an outraged response from people around the world, including animal rights activists, in May 2015. After being knocked from her horse, she killed the bull responsible before posing with its severed ears in a picture.

Juan Jose Padilla, another matador, was injured at the same tournament Oct. 15 when a bull gored him.

A recent poll found that 60 percent of Spaniards are opposed to bullfighting, marking a significant shift from several decades ago when it was considered a part of national life.

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There are 52 bullfighting schools in Spain, but the number of fights held in the country is decreasing, according to al-Jazeera. While 953 fights were held during 2007, only 398 took place in 2014.

Bullfighting has been banned in some regions of the country. The Canary Islands outlawed it in 1991 and Catalonia joined them in 2010.

“We all think it is ridiculous to maintain something just because it has always been a part of Spanish tradition,” Alejandro Penedo told al-Jazeera. “I mean, 200 years ago it was also socially acceptable to hit your wife. But times change. A cruel tradition like bullfighting does not belong in a modern society any more.”

Other young students who hope to become the next generation of bullfighters disagree.

“Most of them think I hate animals, but it’s the complete opposite,” said Elena Serrano, a 16-year-old bullfighting student. “We also love animals. Sacrificing the bull is just part of the tradition.”

Sources: Daily Mail, al-Jazeera / Photo credit: Glen Scarborough/Flickr

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