Cruel Sports And How They Effect Animals
“The referee shouts, “Ready, pit!” The birds explode from their handlers’ grasps and collide breast to breast, a foot off the ground. Beak grabbing beak, hackles flaring like porcupine quills, they bounce apart and then collide, again and again. The hatch takes command. The roundhead rolls over, then revives. He pounds the Hatch with a foot, spearing a lung. The Hatch fades, hunkering down and refusing to budge. As he coughs up drops of blood, his breathing sounds like footsteps on gravel. The Roundhead, fatigued but intact, wins. The Hatch is carried off, most likely to die” (Kilborn 3).
This is just one account of a cruel animal sport like cockfighting. This is a epidemic that needs to be stopped. Too many animals are killed for the illegal profit of a few.
In today’s advanced society there are still humans who thrive on the killing of defenseless animals. Some people do this for the fun and the sport, while others do it as a way to make a living. The three animals that are most commonly abused are cocks, bulls and dogs. These animals fight against other animals and humans. Usually these fights go to the death. The term cruel sports is most often used to describe these fights. Cruel animal sports can be defined as an arranged fight between two animals or an animal and a human for the fun and or profit of the people involved. In most cases these fights are illegal. Although with the amount of money to be won through illegal betting the risks are usually overlooked. Especially because of the lack of law enforcement that is delegated to cases like this. Stronger legislation needs to be adopted to completely stop cruel sports that abuse animals.
There are two forms of cockfighting. Naked heel fighting is the less deadly of the two. Whereas artificial heel fighting is a lot more inhumane. Metal spurs of up to three inches are placed over the cocks natural spurs to cause a devastating effect to the other bird. These metal spurs can puncture a heart or a lung with one kick. When the birds fight with metal spurs the fights are for the most part quick and to the death. There is no need to provoke the birds once their in the ring. It is a natural instinct for them to fight over territory. Game cocks are fed special diets which usually include steroids to improve muscle mass and aggression. Clubs, magazines, instructional videos, cockfighting classes and newsletters are dedicated to this sport and its survival. “More than half the 170 pages of the May issue of Gamecock, a 62 year-old monthly magazine that claims 16,000 subscribers, are advertisements intended for cock fighters” (Kilborn 1). The game cock industry is a multi-million dollar money maker even without the gambling aspect. In the United States cockfighting is still legal. In the states of Louisiana, Oklahoma and New Mexico it is not against the law to attend or even fight cocks, while in major cities and backyards across the world cockfights take place everyday illegally. This industry is very lucrative with big money to be made in many different ways. There are people who are masters in their own specific areas. Breeders and trainers can make thousands of dollars raising a champion bird. Breeding fighting cocks is not illegal so there are breeders across the United States. These breeders sell there birds over seas where cockfighting is a lot more prevalent. There are also people who deal solely with the distribution of food and artificial spurs for the fighting cocks.
“Anthony Torres, a special agent with the humane law enforcement division of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals helped bust Jerry’s Pet Store of NYC, that stored 93 fighting cocks in its basement, and sold hypodermic needles, steroids and antibiotics – items used to strengthen birds” (Santiago 2). In New York if you are caught participating in animal fights, you can receive a five thousand dollar fine and up to a year in jail. The problem is that not enough agents are cracking down on this sort of thing. Torres goes on to state,”We don’t have the resources or the street intelligence to put animal fighters out of business. We know where the places are, but little effort is placed on busting them(Santiago 2)”.
We need to adopt legislation in this country to stop the insensible killing of these animals. Cockfighting is based around illegal betting, and if betting was not involved there would be no one fighting these animals. There would be no purpose in it. The outcome would be a lot of money spent on raising and training these birds just to die. “A man died of a heart attack in a cockfight over the loss of three hundred dollars” (Baynes 3). Is it really worth the loss of hundreds of dollars and maybe your life to watch two animals kill each other? This is a sport fueled by corrupt and illegitimate breeders and trainers who are in it not for culture or tradition but money. The people who participate in these fights are bookies who break the law and kill defenseless animals.
The Oklahoma Coalition Against Cockfighting is one of the top organizations in the fight to stop this horrible sport. They have collected over 100,000 signatures to help stop this cruel sport. They are also pushing for longer jail terms and higher fines to those who break the law. “On Capitol hill, more than 180 house members and more than 40 senators are sponsoring bills to prohibit the interstate shipment of fighting cocks” (Kilborn 2). If bills where passed in this country to prohibit cockfighting in all the states some people would lose a source of income. If cockfighting was a wrong thing to do why is it that all the states except three have banned this sport? Those people who do raise these birds would be out some money, but the money they make is all illegitimate. These fights are based around illegal gambling that pays for the birds and products. Breeders and suppliers would still have the option to sell the birds and supplies to foreign countries. The welfare of thousands of animals is more important than a couple of criminals making extra money exploiting these animals.
Not only in the United States but across the world animals are being tortured. Mexico and France are the capitals for bullfighting in today’s world. In Mexico thousands of bullfights take place yearly. The first bullfight in France took place in 1701, and the first arena was built in Paris in 1889. There are over forty towns that regularly hold bullfights in France today. Tourists make up most of the crowd for these bullfights. More than 90% of spectators at these bullfights are American and Canadian. The matador and the bull are usually the only two animals in the ring for the fight. As a matador tries to stab the bull with a sword the bull charges a piece of cloth the matador holds. The object is to kill the bull by piercing its heart with the sword. Very rarely is a bull killed on the first couple of tries. Most often bulls die from the great amount of blood loss that comes with being stabbed repeatedly. What “sport” is involved in torturing innocent bull’s by stabbing them with swords. What chance does a bull have? He doesn’t get a sword. “Fifty thousand residents in twelve states of the Mexican Union were asked eight questions about the ethics of torturing and killing animals for amusement. A startling 87% answered in opposition to bullfights” (Bullfighting 1). Over the last couple of years there has been a 40% loss in net income for bullfight arenas in Mexico. Pepsi a major distributor pulled all of its advertising out of bull arenas in December of 1999. This shows how mainstream society looks down upon the killing of animals for sport.
Mexico and France should stop supporting bullfights through government funding and outlaw them throughout there respective states. Tax payers money could be saved on the maintenance of bull rings and put to better use through the school systems or health care. As stated earlier about 90% of spectators are tourists who pay around $30 US to see a bullfight. In the state of Arizona, protests where held to stop the return of bullfights to the Mexican border city Nogales. Only certain Americans want to see this blood thirsty sport while most of us would like to see it abolished. This would take away from the economy through the loss of jobs. However, not that many bullfight arenas are left throughout these countries so only minimal jobs would be lost. What is more important a couple of jobs or thousands of animals lives?
“In France 75% of young people would like to see Spanish style bullfights replaced by the French tradition known as Course Camarguaise, a bloodless event in which competitors attempt to remove a ring placed over the horns of a bull” (France 3). This non-violent style of bullfighting could bring in more spectators through its non violent methods. If a human stabs another human with a sword they would be prosecuted and sent to jail. Why is it all right for a matador to go and stab a bull that has done nothing to him? This is why countries who feel the need to keep bullfighting around should adopt non-violent methods of the sport.
A San Diego based bullfighting school provides bulls and matadors for a multicultural fair held every year. Only the type of bullfighting they practice here is more humane than traditional style bullfights. Bulls have pockets attached to their shoulders that the matadors use to insert swords in. This does not harm the bull so its life is not lost senselessly. If this style were employed in Mexico and France, more tourists would show up to see these fights. Major companies like Pepsi would start advertising in the stadiums again without fear of their products being boycotted. The gore would be taken out of this cruel sport, allowing the bull to survive. The basic theme of the bullfight stays the same with its cultural authenticity remaining intact. This would be a win for both sides of the argument. There would be more jobs with the higher attraction to the less horrid bullfights, and no bulls would be killed unnecessarily. Animals and humans alike would profit from this change. Sometimes tradition needs to be changed with the times. It was the United States tradition to have slaves and discriminate against woman and blacks, but that does not mean we should still do it just because it is tradition.
Across the country people are using American Pit Bull Terriers not only as household pets but also fierce fighting dogs. The pit bull is considered the best fighting dog for its locking jaw and muscular build. Once a pit bull has clamped down on something it is nearly impossible to break the dogs hold. In the US it is illegal to fight dogs or even own a dog who has been taught to attack. These dogs are trained from the time they are born to be killing machines. Most of the time these dogs are deprived of sunlight and beaten to make them vicious. As puppies, these dogs are stuck in bags and beaten then let out in front of cats and smaller dogs. The pit bulls think that the other animal did this to them, so they will kill it. This produces and refines the killer instinct in these animals. “According to the Los Angeles-based animal advocacy group Last Chance for Animals, about 3 million dogs are stolen nationwide each year to supply a growing dog fighting industry” (Sansolini 2). The fighting dogs are made to run on treadmills with chains or small tires around their necks. This helps increase the dogs endurance and muscle development. Fights can last up to two hours before a winner is declared. Therefore these fighting dogs need to be in perfect shape. With hopes of having a “crazier” dog trainers mix gun powder into their dogs food. High protein and steroid filled diets are what fighting dogs live on. The Sporting Dog Journal is just one example of a magazine published for this underground cruel sport. It has been considered to be the bible of dog fighting with instructions and techniques on how to get the best results from your fighting dog. “Animal protection officials say more than 800,000 people are involved in pit-bull fighting” (Sager 1).
“On a routine drug raid in 1998 police discovered a pit bull training and fighting center in a North Oakland home. It just looked like a battle ground with all these dogs all chewed up,” said police Sergeant Arturo Michel” (Hytha 1). There where tapes of previous dog fights confiscated from the house. After watching some of the tapes police officer Michel commented, “It will make you throw up if you look at the film. Dogs mauled, all full of blood, just ripping each other’s faces up. It’s gross”(Hytha 2). Pit bulls are forced into having there tails cut down and either their ears cut off or cropped. This is so that while fighting another dog cannot grab on to a ear or tail. This kind of inhumane treatment of “man’s best friend” needs to be stopped. I personally know that I treat my dog as a friend and sometimes a child. Would you ever have your friends or child’s ears cut just so they could do better in a sport? The idea is absurd and should be looked at the same way as when dealing with a dog. Through tougher legislation like increased jail time and fines, the amount of dog fighting can be sizably reduced. This will also have to be in accordance with more police concentration on dog fighting and the gambling it produces. This is not a sport for the weak hearted. “The losing dog – if it does not die during the fight – is shot between the eyes by its owner with a .22 caliber pistol” (Santiago 2). When a vacant lot with dog carcasses is found you can bet you’re going to find a dog fighting ring close by.
Mostly organized crime and street gangs run these under ground fights. Theses fights usually take place in abandoned buildings and basements in major cities across the US.A champion fighting dog can be sold for thousands of dollars. “The Mafia’s most lucrative activity has been dog fighting, which law enforcement authorities say is now an estimated $500 million-a-year business” (Sansolini 1). Dog fighting attracts mostly men with thousands of dollars and guns to keep bet defaulters and thieves in check. Thousands of dollars can be bet on one fight. With several fights a night someone stands to win a lot of money. That’s why criminals risk the chance of getting caught.
Tougher laws need to be passed for longer jail time and increased fines for those who are involved in dog fighting. A clear message needs to be sent out to the mob and other organized gangs who run dog fights. We need to take a stand and show these criminals that if you hurt an animal your going to jail. With increased police presents in popular dog fighting areas, and the adoption of new legislation to punish criminals. We can make a dramatic decrease in the number of dogs that are hurt and killed every year from this cruel sport.
Animal abuse has gone to far for long enough. Across the planet people are killing animals through cruel sports. Whether it be a matador stabbing a bull or two dogs killing each other there is always a obvious loser. The animals in all situations get the short end of the stick. Who are we as humans to defy Gods creations by making them fight each other and us. It should be our job as humans to help other animals. Not to put their lives in danger by stabbing them with swords and fighting them against each other. Nothing could stop sports that are fueled by millions of dollars in illegal betting, but through laws that would put offenders behind bars we can begin to clean up the world of cruel animal sports. If a no tolerance position is taken by our government a strong message will be sent out to all offenders. This is something that should have happened years ago. With new laws there will be a dramatic decrease in the number of defenseless animals killed. Words
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