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Bullfight heroine heads east

A British animal rights campaigner has flown to Macao to protest against a series of bullfights in the Portuguese colony.

Vicki Moore, who was tossed and gored by a bull in Spain two years ago, last night witnessed the first of a series of bullfighting exhibitions in Macao, South-east Asia.

Twenty-four bulls and several matadors have been flown from Portugal for the four bullfights - the second takes place today - according to Mrs Moore's husband, Tony, with whom she runs the Fight Against Animal Cruelty in Europe campaign.

"We don't have much hope of stopping these fights. Vicki is just trying to raise awareness in the colony because they've hardly seen it there," said Mr Moore from the couple's home in Southport, Merseyside. Bullfights were last held in Macao during Chinese New year celebrations in February 1996.

Mrs Moore, 39, has given television and newspaper interviews in Macao and taken film footage of bullfights in Spain and Portugal with her. She has been asked to film the event for the European Parliament.

"We can't understand why they are trying to introduce bullfighting into Macao when it is on its way out at home," said Mr Moore. "The fights take place in temporary bamboo rings.

"The Portuguese bullfighting method is very cruel. They stick banderillas - six-inch harpoons - into the bull's shoulders, and stab them with arrowheads.

"They don't kill the bull in the ring, which is a bit dishonest - they finish it off when it's taken from the bullring. These bulls suffer a great deal."

Mrs Moore became famous for rescuing Blackie the donkey from certain death in another Spanish street festival in 1987. She has long been involved in the rescue of animals from the Costa Brava and has been repeatedly threatened.

In 1995, she suffered multiple injuries to her face and body, including several fractured ribs and a punctured lung, after she was attacked by a bull while filming a street fiesta in south-western Spain.