Postcard from... Sueca

 

 

He has killed at least two spectators and injured dozens. But after 11 and a half years spent terrorising Spaniards at bull-dodging fiestas, the half-ton bull improbably named Raton (Mouse) has died.

In other versions of bullfighting, the fighter, not the animal, tends to be venerated by fans. Not so in bull-dodging, where as "entertainment" Raton was let loose and charged through the streets of dusty towns in eastern Spain pursuing fans.

In 2006 Raton made his first fatal goring – a 54-year-old man in Sagunto. With each fatality his reputation as Spain's deadliest bull grew. Towns were said to have paid up to ¤15,000 for an hour of Raton's time, despite being well past usual retirement age. "What would you do if each time they waved a blank cheque under your nose?" his owner, Gregorio de Jesus, told El Pais.

Age, combined with the stress of a life constantly spent at fiestas finally caught up with Raton. De Jesus recounted that the bull had stood up one last time "and then laid down, unable to recover".

Those still wishing to see Raton in the flesh – rather than in the dozens of videos on the internet – will not be disappointed. The bull is due to be embalmed and put on display at his owner's estate in Sueca.

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