Magazine topic: 
Sport

Animals in sport and entertainment

by : 
Rebecca Farnham-Shaw

Animals today are still a huge part of the sport and entertainment industries. Cultural traditions such as fox hunting and bull fighting, as well as horse and dog racing in the sporting world, not to mention animals performing tricks at circuses, are all examples of how we take advantage of animals simply for our own entertainment.

Opinion has always been divided about the way we treat and use animals for food or to test products but their involvement within our entertainment industry seems to have been overlooked.

Let’s think about bullfighting, the Spanish tradition between one bull and one man. It has been a popular sport in Spain for many years and is considered a normal activity just like going to watch a football match. In Spanish culture it is a symbolic and respected event. On the other hand, some people believe the way the bull is treated is distressing for the animal. The matador, the man who fights with the bull, will taunt and eventually kill the animal. Is this an acceptable form of sporting entertainment?

Have you ever watched a horse or dog race before? In the UK, these races are extremely popular and many people will bet money on a particular animal to win the race. It’s exciting to attend one of these races and feel the adrenaline rush through your body as you watch the animal you’ve put money on run as fast as it can. Is it fair though that we subject these animals to these conditions? Some people think that using animals in sports should be banned as unlike humans, animals can’t choose if they want to take part or not. Not to mention the risks of injury, especially in a sport like horse racing, where the horses fall over when trying to jump a hurdle.

Animals have been performing in circuses for years and although it is banned in the UK for animals to be in a circus, others areas of the world still use wild animals like lions, tigers and bears as entertainment. The main reason animal circuses were banned in the UK was the terrible conditions these animals were kept in, as well as the methods to teach these animals how to perform tricks, which included electrical shocks and food deprivation. However, some people believe that if better laws were put in place to ensure the correct treatment of these animals, then the circus could be a place to embrace animals and show children the positive relationship between humans and animals.

The sporting and entertainment world still involves animals within its industries but do you think that using animals as a form of entertainment is acceptable today or perhaps improved laws should be put in place to ensure enjoyment for both humans and animals?

Discussion

Do you think animals should be used for sports and entertainment?