On Monday, Michael Vick pleaded guilty to one count of "conspiracy to travel in interstate commerce in aid of unlawful activities and to sponsor a dog in an animal fighting venture." This is what a good lawyer can do for you.
Vick came to Jesus only after three co-defendants and four confidential informants ratted him out. Facing certain conviction on multiple felony counts with the promise of having more charges tacked on, Vick cut a deal. Afterward, he spoke to the corporate press: "I totally ask for forgiveness and understanding," he said. Vick apologized to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, Falcons owner Arthur Blank, his coach, teammates, children, and sentient beings wherever they reside. Vick announced he found Jesus and said, with a straight face, "Dogfighting is a terrible thing."
Putting two dogs in a closed ring and having them fight while betting which cur will die first is revolting, barbaric, and not something you or I would do. Other people, bad people, do such things.
Or, to put it another way, the fun of watching two dogs fight each other until one is maimed or dies is not reserved for Michael Vick alone. The sport began in Japan in the 1300s. Dogfighting is still legal in that happy land today. Indeed, the annual Japanese dogfighting national championship is held in Kochi (fly to Tokyo and turn left). Check the Internet for hotel specials and transport details.
About this time -- make that a couple hundred years later, on the other side of the world, in London, we come upon the sport of bear baiting. Bear gardens were built with a pit, fence, and circular seating for fans. A bear was chained to a post and hunting dogs were set loose. Dogs were swapped out when they tired. Follows is written by Robert Laneham, a court flunky attached to Queen Elizabeth I, describing a bear-baiting viewed by the queen.
"...it was a sport very pleasant to see, to see the bear, with his pink eyes, tearing after his enemies approach; the nimbleness and wait of the dog to take his advantage and the force and experience of the bear again to avoid his assaults..."
Actually, bull-baiting was more popular at the time due to the low cost of bulls as compared to bears. You don't care? Okay, how about cockfighting? According to Encyclopedia Britannica, cockfighting is the "...sport of pitting gamecocks to fight and the breeding and training of them for that purpose." Yes, indeed, training and breeding, not to mention cutting off the comb and wattle, perhaps affixing a sharp silver cockspur to one leg. Then, gather around and bet on who dies first.
You can enjoy the manly and legal sport of cockfighting today in Nicaragua, Venezuela, Belgium, Colombia, France, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Italy, Philippines, Peru, Puerto Rico, Martinique, Spain, Haiti, Italy, Malaysia, and if you hurry, Louisiana.
Don't feel like a trip right now? No worries, enjoy animal death on ToughSportsLive.com from the comfort of your La-Z-Boy. And don't forget to root for the South Carolina Gamecocks on Saturday as they take on Louisiana-Lafayette in exciting Division I football action!
Not for you? Okay, how about coursing? Dogs chase prey. I'm talking greyhounds, Irish wolfhounds, Scottish deerhounds, whippets, and their ilk. Watch as they tear after antelope, hares, foxes, rabbits, deer, and the odd wolf at full speed!
Too outdoorsy? Why not visit the "Beautiful Bullring by the Sea" on your next trip to Tijuana? Lots of blood. Five Star Tours will bus you from San Diego right to the beautiful bullring's front door. The coach leaves from the downtown Santa Fe Depot. All aboard!
Don't like foreign countries? How about horse-racing? In America. Well, between 600 and 800 racehorses die each year plying their trade. Critics point to breeding, stimulants, and track conditions as killers. Another 3000 to 4000 horses sustain injuries while racing.
But why watch horses race when you can watch horses fight? Pop over to the Philippines, Indonesia, China, or South Korea and catch some big-league horse-fighting. Those stallions can really bleed.
Don't like the food over there? All right, say hello to our national blood sport, legal in all 50 states, professional boxing. An editorial in Spokane's Spokesman-Review said about 900 boxers have died from injuries in the ring since 1920. The American Association of Neurological Surgeons says 90 percent of boxers collect a brain injury. Then there are the cuts, bruises, broken ribs, internal bleeding, and so on. Most unfortunate.
Let's bring in St. Augustine to sum up. He writes about a cockfight in De Ordine (On Providence), penned in 386 AD. "Why do all cocks behave this way?... Why did the very beauty of the fight draw us aside from this higher study for a whole, and onto the pleasures of the spectacle?"
Indeed. Why do we like to watch?