A cherubic child matador with more than 50 “kills” to his name will perform again this week in France despite the opposition of anti-corrida campaigners who had two bullfights cancelled over the weekend.
Michelito is the son Michel Lagravère, a well known French toreador Photo: AFP/GETTY Ten-year old Michelito, who is hailed as a prodigy of the cape and sword in his native Mexico, was unable to show off his talents in the southern French town of Arles after local authorities barred his performance after protests by the Anti-Corrida Alliance.
The alliance has been leading the battle to ban children from the ring in France, even though the novice fights in which they take part – known as besserades – use calves and are not finished with the animal being killed.
It successfully argued that Michelito's performances would have been in breach of child safety and employment laws.
However the mayor of the south-western town of Hagetmau said that a besserade scheduled to take place on Wednesday and feature Michelito, will be allowed to go ahead. More fights in other towns are planned for this month.
“It's simply a display by pupils of our bullfighting school. It's no more dangerous than a game of rugby and there is no money being paid,” said Serge Lansamann, the mayor.
The son of Michel Lagravère, a well-known French toreador from the 1990s, Michelito attends his father's bullfighting school in Merida, Mexico, and first appeared in public at the age of five.
In Latin America – unlike in Europe – there is no minimum age for taking part in full-fledged corridas.
“As a father I may not be objective, but as a teacher I have to say I have never seen anyone so gifted,” said Michel Lagravère. “No-one ever stopped Mozart playing the piano or Maradona kicking a football – so they should just leave him alone.”