January 27, 2016 2:32 AM EST

A Spanish matador sparked outrage on Monday, and not just from animal-rights groups, according to the Guardian.

Famed bullfighter Francisco Rivera Ordóñez came under fire when he posted a picture on Instagram that shows him holding his baby daughter while taunting a bull that appears to be wounded. “Carmen’s debut,” Rivera wrote in the caption.

Child-protection officials in Andalucía launched an investigation into the fourth-generation bullfighter’s actions, which the welfare agency called “a situation of unnecessary risk for a minor,” according to Agence France-Presse.

Rivera said he did not put his child at risk and cited his family’s extensive history in the arena, the Guardian reported. But his record may not offer the best defense. Rivera underwent life-saving surgery after a bull gorged him last year. And his father died during a bullfight in 1984.

Other matadors have come to Rivera’s defense, however. “What’s the problem in showing our children a profession that we love and is filled with values?” matador Manuel Díaz wrote on Twitter, according to the Guardian.

Even comedian and animal-rights campaigner Ricky Gervais joined in the debate, tweeting: “Mental, dangerous & cruel. With or without a baby.”


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Write to Mark Rivett-Carnac at mark.rivett-carnac@timeasia.com.

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