One form of animal abuse is illegal animal fighting. Animals are trained to fight in a ring and people make bets on the winner. These fights are extremely violent and also usually involve other criminal activities such as gambling, drugs, prostitution and illegal firearms. Children are often exposed to this violence and put to work as runners for the betting process.
Although cockfighting is illegal in all of the United States it is still a popular “pastime”. The birds which are raised for fighting are filled with hormones, blood-clotting drugs and stimulants. Two roosters are placed in a pit where they peck at each other with their beaks and with weapons. Usually one or both of the roosters will be killed. In any case, they will be severely injured since they are unable to escape from the fight. Although birds naturally fight over food, territory or mates these fights seldom result in injury. The combination of birds bred for aggressiveness and the razor-sharp steel blades attached to their legs make this an unnaturally bloody sport.
Cockfighting originated in ancient times and was practiced in India, China, Persia, and other Eastern countries. It was later adopted by both the Greeks and the Romans. In some countries, such as Mexico, Peru and Thailand cockfighting is still legal. It is most common in Southeast Asia.
The Humane Society of the United States writes on its website:
“If you suspect that cockfighting is going on in your own neighborhood, alert your local law enforcement agency and urge agency officials to contact The HSUS for practical tools, advice, and assistance.”
Dog fighting is another blood sport illegal in the U.S. but still practiced widely. Dogs, usually pit bulls, are bred and trained for fighting. Trainers often over-breed them and many pit bulls end up in shelters where they are killed since they can’t be placed in homes. The dogs are trained to be vicious from birth. They are starved, beaten, have heavy chains placed around their necks to increase muscle mass and are forced to exercise excessively. They are baited with puppies, cats, and other small animals, which they will maul to death. Dogs used for fighting often die of blood loss, shock, dehydration, exhaustion, or infection hours or even days after the fight.
These vicious dogs are a danger to a community. They may mistake people, especially young children, for another animal and attack them.
Like cockfighting, dog fights often involve illegal gambling, firearms and exposure of children to the violence.
Bullfighting is illegal in the United States but legal in other countries, such as Mexico, Spain, and South America. Bullfighting is a battle between bull and matador, in which the bull is always destined to lose. Before the fight, bulls languish in pens that lack sunlight, food, and water and are commonly fed laxatives or drugs to debilitate them. During the fights, the bulls are weakened by assorted weapons and then the matador comes in to the ring to finish him off.
The tourist trade encourages frequent bullfights. Many American and European tourists attend these fights while abroad. To protest bullfighting, write to the embassies of Spain and Mexico, telling them you will not visit their countries until they outlaw this practice.
In July 2010, the region of Catalonia in Spain voted to outlaw bullfighting. It is expected to disappear in the region by the year 2012. Animal rights activists hope a worldwide ban is in our future. See more: Catalonia, Spain Bans Bullfighting