Animal Fighting ( “Bloodsports”)

Throughout history, humans have pitted animals against each other in mortal combat. From exotic animals facing off in the Roman Coliseum, to the public popularity of bull- and bear-baiting in 17th and 18th century England, to  modern “sports” such as cock fighting and dog fighting, people have forced animals to fight to the death for entertainment and financial gain.

Preparations for animal fighting often are a brutal series of events involving:

  • extreme physical conditioning,
  • use of helpless animals as bait
  • severe injury, suffering and/or death of those animals that do not overcome their opponents

The “winners” and the losers:

  • losing animals may be severely injured and suffering
  • are often brutally killed either due to their injuries or because they failed as competitors
  • “winning” animals often receive crude medical care for their injuries
  • the animals that make the top levels battle each other often to the death

The demographics of  animal fighting:

  • animal fighting crosses socioeconomic status and class lines
  • fighting occurs in any type of communities from urban settings to rural farm communities
  • ccurs on different levels ranging from  impromptu street corner fights between amateurs to highly organized  “professional”  fights
  • some individuals fight animals as a vicarious method for reinforcing their sense of power and status
  • some individuals fight animals a source of  income and financial gain
  •  is gaining in popularity with dog and cock fighting most prevalent


Legal and criminal aspects of animal fighting:

Most states have outlawed animal bloodsports and consequently, animal fighting has been driven underground and often involved well organized criminal enterprises. The following is a list of criminal behaviors often associated with animal fighting:

  • assault
  • child endangerment
  • conspiracy
  • drug possession and trafficking
  • homicide
  • illegal gambling
  • illegal gang activity
  • interstate transportation of fighting animals
  • money laundering
  • tax evasion
  • weapons (illegal possession and use)