Protester gored by bull cried for animal

Animal rights campaigner: Vicki Moore's horrific injuries 'have made many Spaniards think again over festivals'
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The Independent Online
DANNY PENMAN

Vicki Moore, the animal rights campaigner gored by a bull during a Spanish "blood fiesta", burst into tears and murmured "poor bull" when she was told that the animal had been shot after the attack.

Ms Moore, 39, was transferred to a British hospital yesterday, one month after being gored by the enraged bull, Argentino, in South-west Spain.

She had been secretly filming the festival in the village of Coria, 40 miles north of Caceres. During the festival, local people drive bulls through the narrow cobbled streets and blow steel tipped darts at them.

Ms Moore tried to escape Argentino by climbing on to a window ledge but the animal drove its horn through her foot, smashed her into a wall on the opposite side of the road and tossed her into the air and gored her a further nine times. She told her husband, Tony, that she was conscious throughout.

"She can remember the bull's eyes looking at her with hatred in them," he said. "One horn went into her groin and went in three different directions and one went through her ribs, caught her lung and scratched her ribs. But no vital organs or arteries were damaged and her nervous system is okay - it is like a miracle really.

"The bull was shot immediately, which was good for the bull. They said it was too dangerous. They don't like to be in too much danger when they do what they do. When I told Vicki, she burst into tears for the bull," he said

After the attack, Ms Moore was on the operating table for over seven hours, unconscious for six days, and spent another week heavily sedated. During her stay in hospital the wounds became seriously infected. "She was very near ..." Mr Moore said, before breaking down into tears. "But if she recovered, they told me she would be all right."

Ms Moore, who has had a tracheotomy to help her breathing, had nightmares about bulls attacking her and even dreamt of a matador with a white face staring intently at her. Yesterday, she was able to talk and eat for the first time but is still too ill to walk. "It will take her a long time to get her strength back and walk again, but the doctors say she should get back to where she was before," Mr Moore said.

Her husband, who has been at her bedside throughout, was with her as she flew the 200 miles to Madrid airport by helicopter before being airlifted to Manchester airport early yesterday.

Seats were removed and a private area of the aircraft sectioned off for Ms Moore and the medical team who monitored her throughout the flight. On arrival in Manchester she was transferred by ambulance to hospital in her home town of Southport, Merseyside, where last night she was said to be in a "stable condition".

Mr Moore said the publicity surrounding the attack, which has been almost uniformly positive, may help improve animal welfare in Spain. "It's had a very strange effect on the people because they are asking whether these kind of festivals should occur. They weren't saying 'what the hell was she doing, the stupid bitch', they were saying 'she believes in what she believes'."

He said people questioned in vox pops for the Spanish media were supportive of her actions. Even the people who believed she was wrong respected the strength of her feelings.

The Mayor of Coria has offered to pay for her hospital treatment in Spain while her insurance company was paying the costs of bringing her home.

After convalescence Ms Moore is expected to continue her fight for animal rights in Britain and abroad. "There's no question about her continuing to fight for animal rights. It's made her more determined than ever," he said.

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