The bullfighter Francisco Rivera Ordóñez, known as Fran, sparked controversy when he posted the photograph of his five-month-old daughter Carmen making her 'debut' in the ring.
While debate has raged in Spain over the matador’s questionable parenting skills, the Child Protection Agency in Andalucia, where the bullfighter lives, confirmed that it would be investigating.
The agency used its Twitter account to say: “We absolutely reject this and will gather information with a view to possibly taking action.”
De ser cierta la imagen, mostramos nuestro absoluto rechazo. Recogemos información para valorar posible actuación pic.twitter.com/G3hIhaeDkD
— Defensor P. Andaluz (@DefensorAndaluz) January 25, 2016
He started the polemic when he published a photograph on his public Instagram account.
“Carmen’s debut,” he wrote under image with the hashtag #orgullodesangre – meaning proud of blood in English.
“This is the fifth generation of bullfighters in our family. My grandfather used to bullfight with me and my father like this. My father also used to bullfight like this with me, and I have done it with my daughter Cayetana and now Carmen.”
Social media was buzzing over the issue as hundreds of commentators felt moved to criticize the matador who insisted that she “was safer in my arms than anywhere else” and that he was only “carrying on the family tradition”.
British funnyman Ricky Gervais, an animal rights campaigner who is well known for his anti-bullfighting stance, was among those to wade into the row, describing it as:
Mental, dangerous & cruel. With or without a baby. https://t.co/KOEH2ZLEyG
— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) January 26, 2016
But in a show of support fellow bullfighters posted messages including their own family snaps with children in the bullring.
“Where is the problem in teaching our children a profession that we love and is full of values?” asked Manuel Díaz, the bullfighter known as El Cordobes.
¿Dónde está el problema de enseñar a nuestros hijos una profesión que amamos y está llena de valores? pic.twitter.com/pYvH3qo9sH
— El Cordobés (@mdelcordobes) January 25, 2016
While Israel Lancho posted a photo carrying his young son in his arms while doing cape work with a young bull. “Then report me too. My God, What hypocrisy and what ignorance. Be strong”
— israel lancho (@israellancho) January 25, 2016
— Paula Zorita (@Paula_Zorita) January 26, 2016
Jose Luis Vadillo, the bullfighting correspondent of El Mundo newspaper, said that Fran had only served to stir up trouble.
“The truth is that Francisco Rivera has only helped the current tide of public opinion which links bullfighting with barbarity. First for fighting with a baby in his arms and then for showing the photograph.”