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Last Updated: Thursday April 20 2006 11:01 GMT

Boy, nine, is bullfighting star

Nine-year-old Rafael Mirabal has a very unusual hobby - the Mexican lad is a star bullfighter in his home country.

Rafita, as he's known, was discovered in one of Mexico's top matador schools, and regularly enters the ring with only a cape and sword to defend himself.

He's been in the ring more than 24 times, facing nearly full-grown bulls.

Although some people say the sport is cruel for the way the bulls are hurt and sometimes killed, it's popular in Mexico as well as Spain and Portugal.

Rafael Mirabal

Rafita has been involved in some real scrapes in the ring.

Despite being thrown in the air and trampled by a bull on Saturday, the lucky boy came out without a scratch.

He plans to carry on training until he can become a fully-fledged matador in four or five years.

What do you think of this story?

Unfortunately this topic is now closed but there are Comments pages on other subjects on the main Chat index.

Your comments

I agree with Murray from Somerset, any sport that can get both humans and animals killed should be stopped. It's mean and I do not understand how people can bear to watch it. What's the point?
Sara, 14, Cambridge

What kind of parent would put their nine year old son into a ring with a fully grown bull? It's insane, cruel and pointless!
Annie, 15, Hartlepool

I think it sounds like a great hobby but it could be a bit dangerous at times as well.
Charlotte, 10, Potters Bar

I think bullfighting is cruel and little boys shouldn't be torturing animals.
Nadine, 8, Surbiton

I think bullfighting is bad and that people, especially at Rafael's age should not be killing animals at all - whether it is a sport or not.
Harriet, 12, Godstone

I think as long as the bull doesn't get harmed it is fine. And they get their own back on the humans sometimes too.
Nicki, 11, Middlesex

I think it is wrong to torment a bull and to throw spears at them is even worse so I hope it's banned.
Rufus, 10, Daventry

I have heard about bullfighting and it sounds horrible. Don't people realise that children/adults lives are at risks. Not only people but also the animals are getting hurt or even killed! We should BAN this NOW before things really go crazy!
Rachel, 9, Ely

I think any sport that harms animals for entertainment is wrong. It should be stopped because I don't see how animals being killed is entertaining.
Emer, 13, Belfast

The bull fighters could get serious injuries so I think it should be banned completely.
Murray, 8, Somerset

I think bullfighting should be banned in all countries all over the world. It is cruel to the bull. If someone in the UK did it that would be sent to prison so why should other countries be allowed do such a cruel thing?
Bethan, 12, Pembrokeshire

I think bullfighting is disgusting - who in their right mind wants to see a bull being tormented and killed, just for fun?
Julie, 14, Essex

Firstly, it is cruel winding the bull up and it should be banned anyway, and second, how irresponsible are that boy's parents?
Katy, 8, Cheshire

I think that bullfighting is somewhat cruel, but it is also a part of culture in some countries, so maybe it should be restricted?
Wing-Sum, 13, Manchester

It is very amazing for a nine year old boy to be able to do that.
Hannah, 9, Narberth

I think that it is cruel and should be stopped.
Andrew, 10, Belfast

I think it is fair saying it's the same as any sport, e.g. football the players get hurt and stressed but no one says it's cruel and should be banned do they?!? I think it's a fair and justified sport!
Billy, 14, Romford

I think bull fighting should be banned in all countries because it is unfair for the bull and is not kind.
Grace, 9, Crowborough

I think that it should be stopped as it is cruel and it makes the animals stressed.
Rebekah, 14, Gloucestershire

I think bullfighting is very cruel, and it should be totally banned everywhere in the world.
Molly, 8, Oxford

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