Animal entertainment: Tradition or cruel sport?
Bullfighting, dog racing and circuses - all entertainment for people, all harmful to animals. So why are we so reluctant to let go of these pastimes?
Like a red flag to a bull
Thousands of people protested in Valencia last weekend against what they see as government efforts to stop an important tradition in Spain: bullfighting. For centuries, crowds have watched matadors baiting bulls. But opponents say it is cruel and stressful for the animals. Pro-bullfighting groups are calling for the sport to be added to the Unesco list of intangible cultural heritage.
Don't step right up, ladies and gentlemen …
Elephants, and lions - these animals are used in circuses worldwide. They are subjugated into performing demanding tricks. According to the animal protection organization Peta, the animals are often removed from their mothers when they are far too young. After much public pressure, the Ringling Brothers Circus in the US will stop using elephants. But the practice will continue in other shows.
As cunning as a fox
It's been more than 10 years since fox hunting was banned in the UK. And yet, the controversial activity continues in a different form. Trail hunting has replaced the traditional hunt - but satisfies neither hunters nor opponents. Pro-hunting lobbyists are campaigning to get the law repealed, while animal rights activists argue trail hunts allow illegal hunting with dogs to continue to take place.
A day at the zoo
A trip to the zoo may sound like fun - but for some animals, the bars and fences mean misery. Despite rules put in place by the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums to ensure welfare of the animals, the organization has been accused of overlooking cruelty in Thailand, Kazakhstan and Sri Lanka.
Don't act like a chimp!
No animals were harmed in the making of this picture gallery - but can the same be said about Hollywood films? Peta says that like in circuses, many creatures are removed from their mothers when they are too young, and subjected to abuse. But there are protective measures in place - the American Humane Association works with the film and television industry to insure the safety of animal actors.
Off to the races
The gates are up, and they're off - greyhounds chasing down a mechanical rabbit. That's what they were born to do, right? Running is actually just a small part of the dogs' lives. The League Against Cruel Sports estimates for 95 percent of the time, race dogs are shut in kennels. "Cruelty, drug abuse, injury, neglect and killing" - just a day in the life for these dogs, according to the league.
It's a dog's life ... and not in the good way
One animal pitted against another - dog fighting is entertainment based on suffering. And while it's illegal in many countries, dog fighting continues to take place in back alleys and behind closed doors, with people gambling on the outcome. The dogs are commonly kept on chains, and are bred to be aggressive. If you see this "sport" taking place, best report it.