Dog Fighting: Tradition or Brutal Sport?
Dog fighting is an extremely disturbing crime that receives more and more attention in the underground world. For immoral and unethical reasons this corruption became illegal until the late 1870s in most of the United States. Yet, owners still continue to risk their dog’s life for money or in some cases just show. In a fight, two dogs are set against each other in a small ring, with the only intention to survive and kill the opponent. The injuries that the animals have to endure are extreme. While the spectators are watching in amazement, the dogs literally rip each other apart, biting the flesh of their bodies and breaking bones. The resulting injuries are so severe that most of the dogs do not survive, or they lose all value they had to the owner and get brutally murdered. The awareness of illegal dog fighting should be increased because of the inhumane training methods that are used for the dogs, the severe injuries the dogs endure during the fights, and the brutal deaths the dogs have to face in case they lose a fight. With these horrifying facts it is clear for most, why the “blood-sport” and the possession of dogs for fighting are illegal in the United States (Gibson). Even being a spectator of a dog fight is illegal in all but two states. No living being fights out of amusement, especially in situations of life or death. Mortal fear is the strongest and most uncomfortable incitement there is; not only for us humans, but also for animals. “From an animal welfare standpoint, dog-fighting is one of the most serious forms of animal abuse, not only for the heinous acts of violence that the dogs endure during and after the fights, but because they literally suffer their entire lives” (Gibson). The training of dogs to attack and kill was a very common and useful method for the protection of the owners and their property. In the middle Ages, breeds like the hunting hound were specifically admired and feared as faithful hunting companions to their owners. It was not until the twelfth century, that people began to concentrate on breeding much stronger and courageous dogs, such as the English mastiff. This breed was valued to emblematize the “English masculine prowess, not only to the English themselves but also to their visitors from foreign lands” (Kalof and Taylor 322). To defend its owner, the Mastiff was trained to attack and kill enemies. For training purposes, bears and bulls were preferred to be used as a substitute for humans. However, other animals such as “boars, chimpanzees, and even horses” were perfect opponents to increase the dog’s fierceness and readiness to fight “to the death” (Kalof and Taylor 322). For its appearance, the bear was seen as a perfect representative of the human; whereas challenging dogs with bulls not only increased the dog’s aggressiveness, but also tenderized the bull’s flesh. What was once training for human and property protection, turned into a blood-sport throughout the Renaissance. Fights between dogs and bears or bulls were seen as huge entertaining events of all social groups and even attracted tourists. Rats were also a very popular opponent to the dog. Baiting animals, which also represented the masculine power of men over women, was banned in England in 1835. This was the time when people realized that pitting two dogs was also very impressive, even had benefits. Getting rid of a deceased dog was much easier than a bear or bull, and watching two dogs fight was more exciting than using bait, that was tied up and had no chance of escape. After the sport became illegal in England and died out in “the beginning of the twentieth century”, the English continued to breed aggressive “fighting dogs” for export to the U.S. (Kalof and Taylor 323). There, it was not legally banned until the 1870s, when Henry Bergh, the founder of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), was able “to secure search and seizure rights”...
Cited: "About Us." American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. ASPCA, n.d. Web. 29 Sep 2012.
Gay, Malcolm. "Effort Uses Dogs’ DNA to Track Their Abusers." New York Times [New York] 26 June 2010, A17. Print.
Gibson , Hanna. "Dog Fighting Detailed Discussion ." Animal Legal and Historical Center . Michigan State University College of Law , 2005. Web. 28 Sep 2012.
Gibson, Hanna. "Dog Fighting Legal Overview ." Animal Legal and Historical Center . Michigan State University College of Law , 2005. Web. 28 Sep 2012.
Hanks, Lisa A. “Pitt-Bull Ambassadors.” Dog World 94.6 (2009): 38. MasterFILE Premier. Web. 28 Sept. 2012.
“Henry Bergh.” Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6Th Edition (2011): 1. Academic Search Complete. Web. 28 Sept. 2012.
Josey, Imani. “Michael Vick Busted in Illegal Dog-Fighting Operation.” Jet 112.5 (2007): 51. MAS Ultra – School Edition. Web. 28 Sept. 2012.
Kalof, Linda, and Carl Taylor. “The Discourse of Dog Fighting.” Humanity & Society 31.4 (2007): 319-333. SocINDEX with Full Text. Web. 28 Sept. 2012.
Please join StudyMode to read the full document