Cruelty in sport and entertainment
- Blood sports, such as bear-baiting, bull-baiting and cockfighting, were socially accepted forms of entertainment.
- Animal combat shows were known as animal trials and often attracted huge crowds.
- Jousting tournaments and duelling were extreme sports often resulting in serious injuries or death.
Early Modern (1500-1750)
- Blood sports continued to enjoy popularity among all types of socio-economic classes.
- Public executions and punishments often served as entertainment; the gibbet was an execution device featured publically.
- Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre hosted shows that featured graphic violent scenes as part of their storylines.
Industrial Revolution (1750-1900)
- Blood sports started to decline in popularity due to increasing social and legal pressure.
- The Cruelty to Animals Act of 1835 prohibited animal fighting, leading to the closure of many venues.
- The illegal sport of prizefighting, a precursor to modern boxing, sometimes resulted in fatalities.
- Working class people participated in brutal sports like bare-knuckle boxing and rat-baiting, often in secret.
20th Century Present Day
- Modern day boxing and MMA have rigorous safety protocols, but can still result in serious injury or death.
- Dog and cock fighting is illegal in much of the world, but still occurs underground.
- Criticisms exist around the treatment of animals in the circus industry, leading to bans in some areas on the use of wild animals in circuses.
- Controversies around the lack of safety protocols and traumatic impacts of American Football has led to changes in rules and equipment.
- Further concerns raised about treatment and welfare of animals in horse and greyhound racing.