CAROLYN'S COMPOSITIONS

February 23, 2010

Dog Fighting & Cock Fighting: Cultural Phenomenon?


CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

DOG FIGHTING & COCK FIGHTING:

CULTURAL PHENOMENON?

     On July 17, 2007, Michael Vick was charged with owning and operating an illegal dog-fighting organization, aptly called Bad Newz Kennels, in rural southeastern Virginia. Not only was excessive violence applied to “losing” dogs—allegedly, there was substantial gambling.

     Vick was suspended indefinitely from the National Football League, where he was a quarterback with the Atlanta Falcons. He also lost his lost his contract with Nike and endured the wrath of animal rights groups. The allegations were investigated by local and federal authorities. Vick was defended by a legal defense team consisting of five top-notch lawyers.

     Vick admitted to killing six to eight dogs whose demonstrated poor performance during training sessions. He also admitted to financing the Kennels and bankrolling gambling on the dog fights. When he entered his plea in federal court, he apologized and asked for forgiveness. On December 10, 2007, he was sentenced to 23 months in prison. Approximately fifty persons attended the sentencing hearing, some siding with animal rights activists, some supporting Vick.

     Vick mustered a short speech, apologizing to some people and admitting “I’ve used poor judgment.”    

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    According to Whoopi Goldberg, the problem may be cultural. On the television program, The View, she defended Vick by stating that “from where he comes from” in the South, dogfighting isn’t that unusual.

      “It’s like cockfighting in Puerto Rico,” she said. “There are certain things that are indicative to certain parts of the country.”

     Co-host Joy Behar looked horrified at Goldberg and asked, “How about dog torture and dog murdering?” Goldberg replied that for many people, dogs are sport, and it appeared it took awhile for Vick to realize that he was up against serious charges.

     “I just thought it was interesting, because it seemed like a light went off in his head when he realized this was something that the entire country didn’t appreciate,” she said.

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      According to historical journals, Whoopi has a point. During America’s early days, cock-fighting, was commonplace. A French military man touring the United States between 1780-1783 wrote this about the Americans:

“They have another sport, which is cock-fighting. Here is how it is conducted: Certain inhabitants raise cocks that look very strong, and that they bring in covered cage to the battlefield. Those disposed to bet choose one, which is then weighed, and if he is of the same weight as his adversary, the neck feathers that might hinder him are plucked out. The cocks are next fitted with very sharp, long, curved steel spurs which are attached to their natural spurs. Then they are put into a ring enclosed by a rope, around which the circle of spectators sits. Each man launches his cock, and the fight is on. The moment one falls a man picks him up and makes him take a drink. The fight continues until one of the combatants is killed.”

     Another description is written in the book Moreau de St. Mery’s American Journey 1793-1798 translated and edited by Kenneth Roberts and Anna M. Roberts:

The commonest form of betting is on cock fights, which take place every day. Some men devote all their time and efforts to the training of fighting cocks. In order to make them pugnacious, nothing is neglected. They are subjected to a diet which excites them, and even to the use of strong drinks. They are armed with iron spurs, their combs are cut to offer less of a hold to the enemy; they are urged on by cries and placed in an enclosure from which they cannot escape. The fight rages amidst a crowd that seems to be wholly made up of Englishmen, but which is composed of their descendants, and the unfortunate cocks tear each other to pieces and die in order to decide their bets. The public houses benefit, too, by making sure that the atrocious winners—the men, that is—drink up their winnings in the company of the vanquished—men again. If death has not been the reward of the actual winner, never fear! It is only delayed a little*.

     In the late 1700s there was no debate between animal rights activists and those favoring animal fighting. Today, this debate has been flamed by Michael Vick. According to blogger, Simone,Vick tortured to death (hanging, electrocution, swinging the animal by the hind legs against concrete) defenseless animals. As a breeder, he knew how to euthanize painlessly. He CHOSE to torture his animals to death. He’s a sociopathic monster.”

     In today’s world, there is no defense for this kind of cruelty. Yet it rages on, between man and animal—and between man and man. The same kind of atrocities Vick inflicted on the dogs, some humans inflict on each other—in wars, in domestic violence. Consider Jennifer Daugherty, who was tortured for thirty-three hours, and murdered by six of her “friends” this month in a nearby community, Greensburg, PA.

     We must be forever vigilant in stemming the tide of violence to man and creature through education and intolerance of this level of cruelty. Perhaps it was once an acceptable part of society. Have we not—will we not, as a people, mature sufficiently to meet our needs without inflicting mindless violence on others?

     We must each do whatever we can, wherever we are, through small and big kindnesses and actions, to stem the tide of violence.

     Consider what you can do. Post any suggestions in the comment box below.

SOURCES:

*Pp 329  Moreau de St. Mery’s American Journey 1793-1798 translated BY Kenneth Roberts

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ADDITIONAL READING:

WHAT RIGHTS DO CATS HAVE, I ASK

CHILD ABUSE AND SCRIPTURE

CHILD ABUSE DEFINITIONS

Breaking the Cycle of Abuse: A Devotion

Hope for Victims of Domestic Violence

How to plan to escape from a domestic violence situation

Why women stay in abusive relationships: Is this the right question?

CHILD ABUSE CREATES VICTIMIZATION

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