Terrible inhumane blood sports are still going on today that pit animal against animal against the will of the animal and most civilized people. These terrible fighting rings are not limited to third world countries but are taking place right under our noses in our own neighborhoods. These cruel and illegal crime rings make the news almost every day as police and legislatures crack down on the violence and try to save as many of the innocent as possible. Here is a list of the most popular of these heinous crimes and their victims, forced to fight to survive, even if it is for only few hours longer.
A fan-favorite of Henry VIII and then Elizabeth I, when Parliament tried to outlaw the "sport" on Sundays they were over-ruled by the Queen. It is a terrible event at which a bear is tied to a post and set upon by dogs. Many times, the bear would have to defend itself several times in a day before it finally succumbed to its torment. Mastiffs, the strongest and largest of dogs were often used for this horrible pastime. Pits, known as Bear Gardens were built to house these popular massacres.
Although this practice is virtually extinct, it still occurs in Pakistan (and only God knows where else), among secret groups sponsored by local warlords.
In the Philippines, children engage in spider fighting. (Some adults as well but it's not as popular as cockfighting.) Many children there will actually have an entire stable of fighters, housed in little matchboxes, which they hand feed insects. Except for a few days before a fight, the spiders eat well and are relatively happy to be stabled; however, they are more aggressive if starved before a match. Spiders are considered better fighters if they have long legs and city spiders are preferable to their country cousins. The thinking is that they must be braver to live in the more aggressive surrounding of the city.
Children will typically bet several hundred pesos and the adults, up to thirty thousand. That is a range of 2 to 700 U.S. dollars.
On a quiet street in the suburbs, in a neighborhood with nicely kept lawns and children's toys scattered about, there is a sinister trend starting that is gaining in popularity and frequency. A perfect little neighborhood in Shelby Connecticut is just such an example as police cars crept silently up the street and officers suddenly appeared out of nowhere, guns drawn, moving quickly towards a nice house in the middle of the quiet street. Moments later, they kicked down the door and entered the property. It is a bust. There are no guns, drugs, or fugitives here. The bust is to break up a canary-fighting ring that incorporates hundreds of the cute yellow birds and sees thousands of dollars in gambling money pass hands. Canaries are nasty little birds despite their beauty. They are territorial to the extreme and the males will fight to the death over its 2/10's mile radius home or a one-foot square cage. Canaries consider the distance they can see from their chosen nest as their territory. Getting two male canaries to fight is a simple as putting them in the same cage when it is time for a nearby female to mate.
While the canary makes beautiful music through song, researchers have figured out the canary's song is actually an act of aggression.
Even though badger baiting was outlawed long ago, (1835's Cruelty to Animals Act) in the United Kingdom, authorities say that it still happens illegally in many places. Badger baiting is usually badger vs. dog and almost always results in the death of the badger and sometimes-serious injury to several dogs. On its own, the badger is a docile creature that prefers to be left alone. When threatened, the badger's fierce bravery is second to none and it will defend itself and it’s young with ferocity. Badger baiters will capture the animal and either cut its leg tendons or break its jaws so that it cannot fight back as well as it could and then stick it in a man-made cave, sending the dogs in to get at it. When the dog sinks its teeth into it and grips, they pull it out by the tail and then do it all over again until the badger is dead or can no longer fight back, and then they kill it. What a terrible thing for people to do.
Fighting Betta fish is still legal in Thailand. These aggressive fish are beautiful fresh water fish that are no bigger than a matchbox toy car. They will posture up and kill each other and other small fish. They are bred to fight as well and there are actual training programs that control their food and have them swim against a current for maximum strength.
While this may be a cruel sport, it is the fish’s nature to fight and is pretty much a trip to watch. The most popular kind of fighting Betta is the Siamese Betta with the Superman Betta coming on strong.
Here is a sport so revered in China that people would mourn the popular combatant's deaths and attend their funerals. Fighting crickets had a following that is compared to the popularity of football in America. They even had their own paraphernalia. A good fighting cricket had a house, which was a beautiful ornate pot with rich dirt inside for comfort. They had a second home just for mating. This was an ornate little box. Cricket champions were provided with a new female every night. They had their own special diet and regular veterinarian visits. There were even cricket tickling brushes so that their owners could gently tickle the crickets after a fight to put it back in a good mood. I have to concur that after a long day of training and then killing any cricket foe that they put in front of it, a good cricket tickle and a fresh female would be just what the doctor ordered.
When we think of Bullfights, we think of brave matadors in their bright uniforms facing death, going up against monster bulls armed only with a couple of swords and a red cape. Dangerous, yes…but not really that noble considering they have as many swords as it takes to bleed the bull until it is too tired to defend itself and then kill it. In Okinawa, on the other hand, a bullfight is just that, two bulls, usually raised almost like pets, lock horns in the center of a ring and push each other around until one is declared a winner. At first, they must be goaded into fighting. The bulls get to like the idea though and are eager to fight once they get it in their blood. The winner is paraded around the ring wearing the winner's robes and is cheered and revered.
The ultimate blood sport, cock fighting goes back a long, long time. The sport has been refined to almost an art form. The gamecocks are specially bred for strength, speed, and stamina. Once a bird has been in the "ring," it is never any good for anything else and cannot be reintroduced to any habitat. It just continues to kill anything that gets in its way. A rooster that has been taken off the farm, taught (trained) to fight, and then put back will kill every bird on the farm and then start on other animals.
The sport was popular in Eastern countries such as China and India as far back as 524 BC. I have no doubt that a million years ago, a cave dweller named Trog was raising prehistoric chickens for fighting. Of course, back then the chicken was twenty-five feet tall and had a horn.
Dog fighting is an insidious and illegal activity and a terrible misuse of man's best friend. Despite the fact that now, the terriers used most commonly in fighting were bred for it, these animals were first bred for bull baiting. The bull would be tied to a stake and the dog's job was to immobilize it by dragging it to the ground, usually by the snout. However, the popularity of illegal dogfights or, dog versus dog--fights has prompted several new breeds of bulldog in an attempt to spawn the perfect fighting dog; Breeds like the Blue Paul Terrier, now extinct were very close to the ultimate fighting dogs. Their breed's characteristics can be seen in the Blue Staffordshire Terriers of today.
Other terriers bred for fighting include the aforementioned Staffordshire, the American Pit Bull Terrier, and the Mastiff, which is not a terrier. These dogs are solidly built and have broad chests, muscled legs, a flat forehead, and can withstand lots of punishment and still survive. Powerful jaws are necessary and once a bulldog clamps down where it wants to and makes up its mind, it is almost impossible to make it let go. This includes beating the dog to force it to relinquish its grip. Because of the poor temperament being bred into this otherwise gentle dog, attacks upon humans is on a startling rise.
It is not uncommon to pick up a newspaper and read about two or more pit bulls attacking a person or child. The most infamous of these incidents is the account of a six-month-old boy that lost his genitals during an attack. Why is it always the innocent who pay?
Perhaps to most acceptable form of fighting is insect fighting. Granted, an insect is not a big, scary beast, but it does fall into the Kingdom of Animalia in the class of insect. Besides, it makes the list on its popularity, particularly in Japan. The Chinese have been fighting insects for sport since the Tang Dynasty 618--907 and possibly before. Thailand, Vietnam, and even the Middle East will throw some scorpions into a "ring" which is basically a circle drawn in the sand, and bet upon the outcome. Back in the day, it was a rich man's sport but now everyone is getting into the act.
If you had to be a fighting insect, the beetle would be the way to go. They do not fight to the death. One must simply push one's opponent out of the ring or flip them onto their backs.