A man has died from multiple injuries after being attacked by his own buffalo that he had brought to a local buffalo fight fest in northern Vietnam.
The festival was immediately cut short after the incident.
The decades-old Do Son Buffalo Fighting Festival in Hai Phong City is an annual spectacle held on the ninth day of the eight month in the lunar calendar.
Typically organized at a ring in Do Son District, the festival sees the strongest water buffalo across the district’s eight wards being brought in for fights against one another until a single contender is crowned that year’s champion.
On Saturday, the 28th edition of the event came to an abrupt end after a man was gored to death by his own buffalo inside the ring.
According to an announcement made by the festival’s organizers, the buffalo owned by Dinh Xuan Huong, a resident of Do Son’s Van Huong Ward, had charged at the opposing buffalo’s owner upon being led into the ring.
When the animal failed to land a blow on the man, it abruptly changed direction and came at its owner instead, catching him off guard.
Huong was thrown into the air by the buffalo’s slam, with the animal’s horn piercing his left leg.
The man suffered from multiple injuries on his spine, head and legs, and died later that night despite efforts to save his life by doctors at the Vietnam-Czech Friendship Hospital in Hai Phong.
After the incident, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism sent an urgent dispatch to Hai Phong’s Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, requesting that the festival be temporarily halted until safety measures are taken.
“If preparations for the festival have yet to meet safety regulations, the municipal administration is to be notified of the cancelation of this year’s buffalo fighting festival,” the dispatch reads.
Thirty-two water buffalo were signed up for the 2017 Do Son Buffalo Fighting Festival, and were being pitted against one another on Saturday in 1-on-1 battles to select 16 strongest finalists to enter the fest’s main event scheduled for September.
The fatal accident happened during the qualifying round’s 14th match-up.
The Do Son Buffalo Fighting Festival is traditionally organized in the hope of wishing local fishermen a prosperous fishing season.
In 2013, the festival was officially recognized as a national intangible cultural heritage.
The event has been criticized by its opponents as a ‘barbaric’ and ‘brutal’ practice due to the fact that the contenders often suffer from serious injuries and even death after the fights.
The winning buffalo is usually killed right after being crowned the champion, whose meat is sold at a high price and is believed to bring good luck to those who eat it.