Every year 6 to 8 million dogs and cats enter shelters, and 3 to 4 million shelter dogs and cats are killed. A case involving quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons, Michael Vick, in 2007 made national news when he was indicted of running a dog fighting ring. After the judge convicted him, he served 23 months in jail for cruelty to animals. America needs to realize that the use of animals for entertainment is wrong, and causes animals to suffer.
One way American’s can help to prevent animal cruelty is by refusing to associate with the harming of animals for entertainment. A well known company has done this. Google refused to market an app called KG Dogfighting (formerly called Dog Wars) from its Android Marketplace. In the game, players train and fight their dogs against other players. Developers say it’s “just a video game,” but for living animals, the consequences of glamorizing cruelty are deadly. In real life, there are no winners. The dogs are kept in tiny cages, or outdoors on heavy chains all day, and are starved, beaten, and taunted into being aggressive. And when the dogs finally reach the pit to fight, they are torn to shreds, and won’t quit until both dogs are exhausted and at least one is seriously injured or dead. When the dogs die, they are used as training bait, and if they lose they are typically electrocuted, drowned, shot, or hanged. In addition to being just plain out disgusting, I believe that anything that encourages people to abuse and kill helpless animals for “fun,” jeopardizes public safety. This is because dogfighters and others who abuse animals are cowards, and studies show that animal abusers’ victims often include humans.
Another instance in which animals are being used as sources of entertainment is at Ebro Greyhound Park. The Greyhound racing industry has always been haunted by scandal and protest, but it provides entertainment for an audience, and revenue via taxes for state and local governments. But last year the scandal hit even harder with the discovery of 37 dead Greyhounds found in their kennels weeks after racing ended. Anti-greyhound racing advocates have harnessed the tragedy, promoting it as an example of everything wrong with the industry. For years, they have said racing creates a stressful environment for dogs; leading to illness, broken bones, and premature deaths.
And I personally agree with this 100%. When they find thirty-seven dead dogs, obviously something is wrong. The dogs forced into racing are treated as commodities by the industry, and to the trainers, all they are is a source of revenue. Spectators of the sport disagree with these acquisitions though. “We love the track, as we like to bet,” a woman stated about Greyhound racing. “We all used to get together and meet every Tuesday and sometimes on Saturday too. There’s something about live racing that is exciting.” And she isn’t alone in her passion for watching Greyhound racing, making Ebro popular because Greyhound racing is illegal in 38 states.
Remember when you were younger, and you took a family trip too sea world? How happy the animals looked, and how the babies would perform tricks for the audience? Well, not all is what it seems to be. Recently, an orca named Taima died while delivering a stillborn calf at Seaword Orlando. The baby was the offspring of Tilikum, the angry and frustrated killer whale who battered trainer Dawn Brancheau to death earlier this year. Wild animals are dying of natural causes in the wilderness and can’t be saved, but animals at Seaworld can easily be saved. Asking the question: Why wasn’t the baby orca saved? Seaworld can never make up for the harm that it has done, but it can immediately stop breeding animals and fund the creation of a coastal sanctuary through which captive orcas can start their journey back home. Taima’s mom, Gudrun, was taken from the ocean in he 70’s, and she gave birth to Taima in 1989. Before she had Taima, anther of her calves was born with mental and physical problems and lived just a short while.
That itself, makes you wonder what exactly is going on to fix this issue, and if they even tried o save the orca. And there were more problems! Another calve had to be extracted from her body using a lift and chains. Something has got to be going on! But for Taima, death was just terrifying and painful, yet it was a release from a miserable life of deprivation. Both Taima and Gudrun, along with many other Orcas and Bottle-Nosed Dolphins, met their end alone in a tank full of chemically treated water, when they are meant to explore thousands of miles of salty water each day. Seaworld needs to take responsibility for their actions to animals, and realize what they are doing is wrong. They should also take risks on new projects to save the animals from any harm, whether it be naturally or by Seaworld itself. And American’s can encourage Seaworld to do the right thing by refusing to purchase a ticket.
To me animal cruelty, in any way, shape, or form, is wrong. But some people think that the use of animals for entertainment is not animal cruelty, and that they are doing what they were born to do and don’t suffer from it. For example, in Spain, there is a debate going on about whether bullfighting is right or wrong. The government recognizes the sport as, “an artistic discipline and a cultural product,” delighting enthusiasts but outraging animal activists. People say that it is their livelihood, and is an integral part of Spain’s cultural identity. Hoping that they can protect bullfighting from any further bans. A chairman of the Parliamentary Bullfighting Association also said he hoped the Popular Party would provide legal protection for bullfighting as a special “cultural interest.” So last year in Madrid, the government announced it was awarding bullfighting legal protection because of cultural importance. This isn’t the only opposition though.
At the Santa Ana Zoo, children and grown-ups turn up by the hundred’s to ride the back of an 8,000 pound elephant. Although some people oppose of the elephant rides because they are cruel and dangerous to the public, zookeepers are rushing too their defense. The Zoo Director, Kent Yamaguchi, ignored activists’ claims that the rides are abusive or unsafe and said they will continue because he is confident the animals are well cared for and that care-givers use the strictest safety guidelines and most humane training methods available. Yamaguchi says carrying passengers is a stimulating and healthy exercise for the elephants. People think that the elephants were born to entertain and perform, and therefore that’s what they do.
And last but not least, we are going back to the Ebro Greyhound Park debate. As you have heard the side against making animals entertain, there is another side. The argument that Greyhound racing benefits the town, and was just an unfortunate event when the dogs died. The bad economy led to a shortened season, so Ebro cited financial concerns. They broadcast the races, but live racing is more expensive, and more people attend the event. People love to watch the races, and don’t think anything about the animals being starved or dehydrated. This we know is true, because during 2009-2010 the total money wagered at racing facilities just in the state of Florida exceeded 5 million dollars. And when the season was shortened, the loss of revenue was significant. With profits like those, even though they did have a down-fall, shows that people love watching the races.
So, maybe this essay will convince you to help end animal cruelty and animals being used as entertainment in America. I am strongly opposed to animals as forms of entertainment, and I wish it would stop. Animals do not deserve to be beaten, starved, neglected, and forced to be aggressive just to make a profit or for something too do in your free time. People want to pretend they don’t know what is going on too make money, but how would you feel if you bought your food by killing a dog? Or if you personally were being forced to do performances over and over like the bulls in Spain because of cultural importance? Maybe people will learn what is going on behind those cage doors, through the glass wall, and over the hedges. America needs to put a stop too animal cruelty as soon as possible.