International Journal for the Study of Animal Problems


D. B. Wilkins


Animals are entertaining. Human beings have exploited this undoubted fact for centuries and to the commercial advantage of many people. How we have exploited animals' natural and unnatural behavior has varied. These variations include the straightforward exhibition of an animal in a zoo to the perversity of dogfighting, in which animals are allowed to fight until one or another is killed or badly injured. Entertainment implies both amusement and enjoyment, and it is incredible to realize that even within our so-called advanced Western civilization, there are still people who can gain enjoyment from either directly torturing and killing animals or by witnessing animals inflict pain and death upon each other. North America and most European countries have rightly condemned and outlawed bearbaiting,

cockfighting, and dogfighting. There is no doubt that these last two still have their followers and that organized events take place. Most people are appalled when they read stories of illegal dogfights taking place,

but is there any real difference in principle between that and bullfighting in Spain, foxhunting in Europe, or the use of the cinch strap on horses in rodeos in North America? Each of these is a form of entertainment or sport that depends to some degree on the infliction of pain and suffering on animals.