Spanish bullfighter under investigation for baby in ring photo

Bullfighter Francisco Rivera Ordonez "Paquirri" of Spain performs during the first bullfight of the 2011 season. Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Francisco Rivera Ordonez is from a family of bullfighters

A Spanish bullfighter has been referred to prosecutors after he posted a picture of himself training while carrying his baby daughter.

Andalusia's Ombudsman for Children's office said it showed a "situation of unnecessary risk to a minor".

Animal rights activists and others have branded Francisco Rivera Ordonez "irresponsible" and "an idiot".

But fellow bullfighters have tweeted their support and shown pictures of other children around the animals.

A caption accompanying the photograph, which was uploaded to Instagram on Monday, refers to the episode as the five month old's "debut".

Mr Rivera has responded to the row by saying: "She is never going to be safer than she is in my arms."

However, the Andalusian authorities said they "totally rejected" his actions and had referred the case to prosecutors.

"We hope that such behaviour is not repeated and that the social media reaction ensures that it is not accepted as normal," the ombudsman's office said in a statement (in Spanish).

Image copyright Twitter
Image copyright Andres Sanchez/Twitter
Image caption Matador Andres Sanchez posted this photo with his son in support of Mr Rivera

The move followed a storm of criticism online.

"Putting your daughter in danger, even if it is a calf, I don't understand," wrote one person quoted by El Pais.

"If I were your wife, I'd kill you," read another message.

British comedian Ricky Gervais, a well known animal rights campaigner and bullfighting critic tweeted that he "sorta fused animal abuse with child abuse" before deleting the post, according to El Pais.

But he later tweeted that bullfighting was "mental, dangerous and cruel. With or without a baby".

'Respect our values'

However, Mr Rivera has been staunchly defended by other bullfighters, who have posted their own images of them holding children in the ring.

"What's the problem in showing our children a profession that we love and is filled with values?" tweeted bullfighter Manuel El Cordobés Díaz.

"With my nephew in support of @paquirri74," tweeted Álvaro Oliver. "Respect our life, respect our values."

"With my wife Elisabet Pinero's permission, I'm sending my support to @paquirri74 with this photo with Rodrigo taken three days ago," tweeted Andres Sanchez.

However, the Spanish animal rights group Pacma tweeted that bullfighters were "entrenched in error" and were "violating moral principles".

One of the country's most popular bullfighters, Mr Rivera is taking a break from professional fights since he was gored through the stomach by a bull in August 2015.

His father, known across Spain as Paquirri, was gored to death by a bull in 1984, at the age of 36.

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