Q&A: Animals Used For So-Called 'Entertainment'
This section includes information about animals used for so-called 'entertainment'. Plenty of frequently-asked questions and frequently-made comments on this subject are addressed.
There are also Q&A pages in these areas:
The list of industries where animals are used for so-called ‘entertainment’ includes but is not necessarily limited to:
Almost all are bloodsports, even those which are not obviously so. Horseracing and dogracing are two examples of industries where the massacre is hidden. These industries annually kill many thousands of animals who aren’t fast enough to race. So even when you don’t see killing during the events themselves, be assured that it is most certainly occurring behind the scenes and in alarming numbers.
The exception is zoos and aquariums which are not bloodsports and where the animals usually die of natural (or almost-natural) causes. Does that mean that these two industries are less abusive than the others? No. It doesn’t. I don’t grade animal abuse. I consider it all much of a muchness in the same way I consider all child abuse much of a muchness. Sure some forms of child abuse could be deemed worse than others, but I consider any child abuse wrong no matter the details, and I oppose it all.
Similarly, while some forms of animal abuse could be deemed worse than others, there’s no point in creating a list of supposed ‘best’ to ‘worst’ abuses, because it’s all abuse. It’s all immoral, it all involves torture and killing, and it all must stop.
It really depends on the type of so-called ‘entertainment’ we’re talking about. One thing they all have in common is that they always involve animal abuse, but for a short summary of what goes on click here: Animals Used For So-Called ‘Entertainment’.
Now while it’s important to know some details, in a way the specifics don’t matter. Because regardless of the precise nature of the abuse, it’s a given that all the animals used for so-called ‘entertainment’ endure physical and mental distress throughout their miserable existences. And, generally speaking, their deaths are no more pleasant than their horrible lives.
So what’s the solution? Should we do an overhaul of these industries so that the animals get treated better? No, of course not. Modifying the torment these animals suffer is no solution.
The answer is to stop the abuse altogether, not adjust it. But how?
Well, bans won’t work. How do I know? I know that bans won’t work because they don’t work. The very few times there is a ban of using animals for a specific form of so-called ‘entertainment’ it’s usually either watered down to the point of being useless and not even a ban. Either that, or it eventually gets overturned in the months or years to come anyway. So not only do these bans rarely succeed in becoming law in the first place, but when they do they’re meaningless anyway. In fact, a case in point is that as I write this a ban on bullfighting in a certain part of Spain is being overturned. Look into it and you will see that while on the surface bans do seem like a good idea, history shows that they’re ultimately worthless.
So, okay, bans are clearly not the way forward, but what is? The answer is simple: animals will stop being tortured for so-called ‘entertainment’ when people stop supporting the so-called ‘entertainment’ that uses them.
While this is a simple and certain solution, it’s hardly a quick fix. Eliminating the use of animals for so-called ‘entertainment’ by withdrawing public demand won’t happen overnight, because most people unfortunately don’t change their hearts overnight. But eliminating demand is the only way to slowly but surely eradicate supply and therefore slowly but surely eradicate the use (and therefore the abuse) of animals for so-called ‘entertainment’.
Before I provide a partial list of how animals used for so-called ‘entertainment’ suffer, let me be perfectly clear: the use of the animals is, in and of itself, abuse. So while some forms of so-called ‘entertainment’ could be considered worse than others, even the supposed ‘best’ are still abusive. I don’t waste time putting them on a sliding scale of badness - I just lump them altogether under the heading “Animal Abuse” with the subheading “This must STOP - if you care, go vegan”.
Still, it doesn’t hurt to know some details of what goes on (after all, knowledge is power), so below is a partial list of the various aspects of the abuse animals suffer for human amusement. Note that I don’t connect the abuses to particular industries, and obviously not everything in the list below pertains to every single type of so-called ‘entertainment’ - my aim here is to simply give a broad overview. However, for a rundown of which industry does what click here: Animals Used For So-Called ‘Entertainment’.
Animals used for so-called ‘entertainment’ are:
I should be clear from just that short summary why the industries that use animals for so-called ‘entertainment’ are abusive. But, as I said before, you get a more specific (but still succinct) rundown of which industry does what by clicking here: Animals Used For So-Called ‘Entertainment’.
A few (but certainly not all, and definitely not most) of the many thousands of animals who are used for so-called ‘entertainment’ are given basic care, food every day, and shelter. But so what?
Tell me, what would you say if I said to you “People in prison have a great life because they don’t have to struggle to survive. They’re clothed, get given food every day, and have safe shelter. They have a great life!”?
I very much hope that if I said that to you, you’d you tell me that I was insane. No amount of clothes or food or shelter makes up for loss of freedom.
And that’s precisely what I’m saying to you about the idea that captive animals are supposedly ‘lucky’ because they don’t have to struggle to survive. I’m telling you, in no uncertain terms, that all the food and shelter in the world doesn’t make up for being a prisoner.
But unlike human prisoners, many of whom are guilty of breaking the law, imprisoned animals are innocent of any wrongdoing. They are prisoners who’ve committed no crime. And they deserve to live free.
That’s just looking at things backwards. Think about it carefully: after destroying natural habitats and therefore endangering certain species, the supposed ‘solution’ is to then imprison the remaining members of that species to supposedly save them? That’s just crazy. Crazier still is that we have the audacity to actually call it entertainment in the form of a zoo or aquarium.
Rather than claiming to want to help animals not go extinct by taking them out of their homes and enslaving them for human amusement, how about showing that we’re serious about this issue by tackling the problem at the root? How about not destroying these animals’ habitats so as not to have to save the animals in question from extinction in the first place? That makes more sense.
And this is why veganism is so important - the biggest ecological human-made disaster is animal agriculture. So if you’re truly concerned about preserving natural habitats and preventing the extinction of endangered species, stop supporting the biggest cause of the problem. Instead, be part of the solution by living vegan.
As for the species who are so critically endangered at our hands that they will never be able to survive without human intervention, a sanctuary is the solution there - not any type of zoo or aquarium.
Children certainly learn something when they see animals being used in so-called ‘entertainment’. But what they learn has nothing to do with the actual animals.
What they learn is that it’s okay to enslave and abuse animals for human amusement. They also learn how animals behave when they’re half-crazy, terrified, injured, and dying. And, last but not least, they learn that animals are merely things to be used for whatever whim humans may have.
In other words, children learn all the wrong things when they see animals being used for so-called ‘entertainment’.
The fact is that you don’t need to see something up close to learn about it. If that were the case, you’d have to travel back in time to learn about history and go to outer space to learn about the solar system. But you don’t, because you can learn about both history and the solar system from afar. In the same way, there’s no need to enslave animals to see them in the flesh in order to learn about them.
It’s easy to teach children about animals using the Internet, books, and documentaries. And it’s a much healthier way to teach a child about animals than taking them to see imprisoned animals being abused.
What’s wrong is that it doesn’t make any sense at all. You love nature so you kill nature? Give me a break! Attain some logic and then we’ll talk.
When something a person enjoys harms others, then it’s something that person should no longer do. The saying “live and let live” on its own is incomplete. It should be: “live and let live AS LONG AS it doesn’t harm others”. And that’s why people shouldn’t hunt.
I recently saw a bumper sticker that said “For less stress, go fishing”. I would translate that bumper sticker in this way: “For less stress, go killing”. I mean, really: killing to reduce stress? If killing reduces your stress I’d say that it’s time to seek help, because if it truly does destress you to see a terrified, bloodied animal fighting for his or her life, then your moral compass is broken.
Fish might not be fluffy and cute like puppies or kittens, but they are sentient beings. They are living creatures who feel pain and don’t want to die any more than you or I do. And how can I be so sure that sea creatures don’t want to die? Simple: because they fight to survive. When they’re being dragged out of their watery homes they struggle to stay alive with all the energy they can muster.
The most disturbing aspect of fishing is the pleasure fishermen derive from killing. Because how is that any different from a person who kills dogs and cats for pleasure? Besides the difference in species, it's not different. The only thing that makes it seem different is society's attitude towards our scaly friends. Society as a whole deems that sea-dwelling animals are not as worthy of life as the fluffier animals like dogs and cats. I disagree. Whether we have skin, fur, feathers, or fins, we are all earthlings.
It’s also fun to do about a zillion other things that don’t involve the enslavement, torture, and killing of animals. There are so many different activities to do - why torment animals to have more?
But even if there wasn’t much to do by way of entertainment it would still be wrong to abuse animals for human amusement. And frankly, for the thinking person, seeing animals tortured for our so-called ‘entertainment’ should be too heartbreaking to be fun in the least.
Sure, the animals themselves are cute. That’s not in dispute. But there's nothing cute about captive animals - stolen from the wild, trapped in a world they barely understand - as slaves to human beings.
And there’s certainly nothing cute about what happens to these animals when the public aren’t looking. If you want to see for yourself what I’m talking about, there’s plenty of hidden camera footage on the Internet of the horrors they endure.
But if you choose not to seek video evidence of the physical abuse that goes on behind the scenes, it’s right in front of you in the form of the bullhooks, whips, and other painful 'tools of the trade' that the trainers use on the elephants, big cats, bears, and primates who suffer a miserable existence in the circus. These implements are concrete proof that circuses train animals through pain. Think about it: if they trained through positive reinforcement they'd be standing there with a bag of treats instead of weapons. And it’s not much different for so-called animal ‘actors’ used in films, because wherever there’s animal use you can guarantee there is animal abuse.
So am I saying that the living conditions and training techniques should be changed for animals in these industries? No. Not at all. I’m saying that there should be no animals in these industries in the first place. I’m saying that even if the living conditions were totally comfortable and the training techniques one hundred percent positive I would still say that there should be no animals in the circus or so-called animal ‘actors’.
Yes, good treatment is better that bad treatment, but treatment is not the issue. Treatment is overall irrelevant because, as I said at the start, there's nothing cute about enslaved animals - no matter how they’re being treated.
No matter how people try to disguise it with supposed 'reasons' like controlling animal populations and protecting native flora and fauna, in the end hunting is just killing animals for the love of killing.
I say this firstly because there are ways of other ways of dealing with the above issues without killing animals. However, hunting is usually chosen because it's the cheapest option.
Secondly, I truly believe that if all the excuses were taken away from the hunters who claim to be doing society a service, they would still continue to hunt. They'd do it because enjoy hunting - in other words, they like to kill. They hunt for the thrill of the kill, and I know this to be true because I’ve seen the way hunters talk about their kills with such delight.
So while it might be a good idea to control certain wild populations for their own sake, killing members of those populations isn’t the way to do it. It’s no more a solution than it is to kill humans to control our exponentially increasing numbers.
The big deal is that it’s one thing if you're a human who chooses to become a competitive runner, and quite another if you're forced to race as horses and dogs are.
It’s time for a reality check here: the racing industries are not horses and dogs running around having a good time. The truth is much darker than that.
Racing animals spend their non-racing time (ie. most of their time) tethered or confined. They’re pumped full of drugs and physically pushed to the limit to the point where some even die mid-race.
Horses and dogs are bred as much as possible so that winners can be found. The horses who aren’t fast enough are either shot or sent to the knackery to be killed. The dogs who don't perform to standard are either euthanased, abandoned, bludgeoned, electrocuted, drowned, or shot, while others are sold to laboratories to endure painful medical testing for the rest of their miserable lives. And we’re talking many tens of thousands of animals facing such terrible fates every single year.
For the animals who are fast enough, once their racing days are over their future is exactly the same as the animals who were not fast enough. They don’t go to a beautiful retirement paradise where they frolic free, age gracefully, and finally die a dignified death. No chance. A very tiny percentage are lucky enough to get rescued, but most suffer the same awful fate as the horses and dogs who were never fast enough to begin with.
So as you can see, racing is not just a bunch of horses and dogs running about enjoying themselves. Horseracing and dogracing are essentially bloodsports.
Are whales really so much more important than other species of animals that they should be protected while other types of animals shouldn’t? I think not. It’s similar to saying that certain nationalities of people are more important and should therefore be protected while other nationalities should not. Saying that would be nothing but racism. And saying that it’s okay to kill one type of animal but not another is nothing but speciesism.
Some give the excuse that the population of certain animal species is plentiful and therefore killing some of them to keep the numbers down is okay. But if you were to follow that thinking, then it would also be okay to kill humans by their millions, because our population has spiralled out of control. (In fact, if any animal is in desperate need of culling, it’s us. And no, before you get your knickers in a knot, I’m not suggesting that actually be done - I’m just saying it to clarify my point). But, I diverge…My point is that the idea of it being okay to kill members of a large population doesn't fly at all.
Hunting (and that includes fishing which is a form of hunting) is nothing more and nothing less than coldblooded killing, no matter what species the animal happens to be.
Of course you are. How could you not be doing harm?
How can snagging a fish’s tender mouth with a sharp piercing hook not be doing harm? How can dragging the fish via this hook out of her watery home where she can’t breathe not be doing harm? How can taking a photo with the fish as she desperately gasps for air not be doing harm?
Sure, you ultimately don’t kill her, but you most certainly are doing the fish harm.
You might liken animal fights to humans playing sport, but you’d be completely mistaken. Animal forced to fight simply cannot be compared to sports in which humans are willing participants.
Kept in horrific conditions, the animals are beaten and starved to make them aggressive. The unhappy ending for the losers of the fight is to either die in the fighting ring or be killed by being drowned, hanged, shot, burned, or electrocuted. There’s no happy ending for the animals who win the fight either. They continue to be neglected and abused until eventually they stop winning, and then suffer the same fate as the animals before them who lost their fight.
As you can clearly see, among the animals there are no winners. The only ones who win are the people who line their pockets with the blood money from the animal fights they stage.
I hope it’s now plain to you that pitting abused animals against each other to watch them rip each other apart for human amusement is sadism, not sport.
The use of animals for so-called ‘entertainment’ continues because the overwhelming majority of the public continues to support it.
People support movies that use so-called animal 'actors’ and support teams that use animal mascots. People continue to go to aquariums, zoos, and rodeos. People support circuses which use animals. People pay to ride horse-drawn carriages and to watch so-called 'dancing' bears. People attend events such as bear baiting, bullfighting, cockfighting, dog sled racing, dogfighting, greyhound racing, hog-dog rodeos, horseracing, and the running of the bulls.
Therefore, with all this support they receive, these forms of so-called ‘entertainment’ continue. And as long as the public gives their support, these industries will carry on with business as usual.
So to sum up the answer to the original question of why these industries that abuse animals continue: it’s because we let them.
To begin with, it’s rare that the government makes a stand with regard to anything at all. Secondly, it’s even rarer for the government to take a stand against something that there’s so much public support for - something like, for instance, the use of animals for so-called ‘entertainment’.
The fact is that animals are simply not important enough to the government for them to fly in the face of the voting majority and stop these terrible abuses. Therefore government intervention is not and will never be the answer.
The answer lies in the pockets of the institutional exploiters. If their pockets no longer fatten from using animals, they’ll no longer use animals. And that comes down to public support - or lack thereof.
So the solution is not with the government but rather with the consumer. If consumers stop supporting so-called ‘entertainment’ that involves animals, the exploiters will no longer enjoy financial gain from their enterprises, and will eventually discontinue their businesses.
Petting zoos are places where parents take their children to cuddle farmed animals, after which they buy dead farmed animals for their children to eat.
And thus a paradoxical morality (love one animal, eat another) begins for those kids.
To make it worse, once the animals in the petting zoo grow up and lose their baby-cuteness, they're sent off to slaughter...and it's entirely possible that they'll be eaten by the same children who cuddled them only months before.
So pretty much everything is wrong with petting zoos.
Well, there’s a huge list of things that are wrong with using animals for so-called ‘entertainment’, so it’s quicker to start off with the list of things that are right with it. And here’s the list: nothing. Yes, you read that correctly: there’s nothing - absolutely nothing - right with using animals for so-called ‘entertainment’.
However, if you’d like to know exactly what’s wrong with using animals for so-called ‘entertainment’, I’ve made a brief summary which you can read by clicking here and going to the section entitled The Abuses. You’ll see a rundown of what’s wrong with: circuses, animal mascots, animal 'actors', bear baiting, ‘dancing' bears, bullfighting, the running of the bulls, greyhound racing, dog sled racing, horse-drawn carriages, horseracing, animal fighting, rodeos, aquariums, and zoos.Always remember, too, that even in the forms of so-called ‘entertainment’ where there is public bloodshed, be assured that abuse goes on behind the scenes. Furthermore, it’s important to keep in mind that it's abuse in and of itself to enslave and use these animals in the first place.
Gee, are you sure about that? Because once upon a time it was tradition to sacrifice virgins to the gods, and I don’t think many people would find it acceptable if that were started up again - tradition or not.
What about traditions of today though? Surely today’s traditions can’t be old-fashioned and outdated like sacrificing virgins. Well, you might think that’s the case…but you’d be wrong.
Let me remind you that in some countries it’s currently acceptable to kill a female relative whom you believe has brought disgrace to the family name. And in some countries it’s perfectly acceptable and also perfectly legal to stone a woman to death or put her in jail because she’s been raped. So, no, some traditions of today’s world aren’t any less violent or primitive than the tradition of sacrificing virgins, and it’s not important in the least to keep these practices up just because they’re considered to be tradition. In fact, it’s important to do precisely the opposite: it’s important to stop them.
And the same goes for any and all traditions that involve the abuse and killing of animals: from horse-drawn carriages to horseracing, from bullbaiting to bullfighting, from dogracing to dogfighting. They’re all as outdated, misguided, and violent as sacrificing virgins to the gods.
They’d do what anyone else would do if their job became obsolete. They’d get other jobs.
Ex-employees of many different obsolete industries have gone on to find other employment elsewhere. It’s not only possible but also realistic for a person to expand their skill base and get different employment to that which they’re doing now - people do it all the time. And it can therefore also be done if industries that use animals for so-called 'entertainment' become obsolete.
Like any form of animal abuse, all animal abuse for so-called ‘entertainment’ makes money for the exploiters due to public support of their endeavours. And without paying customers the exploiters wouldn't be able to continue their abuse of animals. So it’s people who find animal suffering pleasurable to watch that keeps these industries going. And that includes you if you support so-called ‘entertainment’ that involves animals - no matter how infrequently you do it.
Imagine for a moment that we’re talking about child abuse. And imagine I said to you, “It won’t make a spot of difference if I occasionally support child prostitution”. I’m sure you’d flip your lid, and rightly so. (In fact, I’d be VERY concerned if you didn’t.) Support of child abuse of any sort is support of child abuse, whether that support is regular, occasional, or very rare. And it’s the same with animal abuse. If you support animal abuse, you support animal abuse no matter how little you support it.
Therefore, anyone who attends circuses, rodeos, bullfights, and the running of the bulls is supporting animal abuse. Anyone who attends or bets on animal races and animal fights is supporting animal abuse. Anyone who takes a horse carriage ride or gives money to a person leading about a so-called 'dancing' bear is supporting animal abuse. Watching films and backing teams who respectively use so-called animal 'actors' and animal mascots is supporting animal abuse. And visiting any type of zoo or aquarium is supporting animal abuse.
So don’t kid yourself. Contributing in any way at any level to any form of so-called ‘entertainment’ that uses animals means you are directly supporting animal abuse.
Well, sure, just one person withdrawing their support might not. But when collections of ‘just one person’ withdraw their support, the numbers can (and do) build to enormous levels. And when that happens, the industries that stop receiving public support must necessarily die out.
You might wonder how I can be so sure that lack of consumer support will cause these industries to die out. It’s a reasonable question to ask, and the answer is: because that’s the way supply and demand works.
For example, if I had a business that sold pencils, but no one bought my pencils, I would have to eventually close my business. I simply couldn’t continue if there was no public support of my product. Many businesses of all types have ceased to exist for exactly this reason, so why would it be any different for industries which use animals? It couldn’t. Because those industries are not exempt from the laws of economics - all businesses of all types are at the mercy of the supply-and-demand equation.
So individuals not supporting industries that use animals for so-called ‘entertainment’ will absolutely make a difference - as long as enough individuals do the same.
Therefore if everyone took the attitude that withdrawing their personal support wouldn’t make a difference, nothing would ever change. But the more people who realise their power as consumers and stop directly contributing to animal abuse for so-called ‘entertainment’ the more these businesses will fold and the less animal abuse there will be. It’s simple economics.
>>>Go on to more Q&A:
SAY NO TO PUPPY MILLS! SAY NO TO ANIMALS IN PETSHOPS! SAY NO TO BREEDERS!
Adopt a homeless animal instead - they all deserve a second chance
It's estimated that 130,000 dogs and 60,000 cats are killed every year in Australia because there are not enough homes for them all. And the global numbers amount to millions upon millions every single year.
Puppy mills are a major contributor to the terrible problem of overpopulation. Puppy mills are essentially 'dog factories' where dogs are forced to churn out litter after litter, with no thought for the welfare of the dogs and all thought for profit. The dogs live in appallingly dirty, cramped conditions all their lives, and when they no longer serve their purpose they're killed, dumped or sold to vivisection laboratories.
Petshops fit into the picture because puppy mills are generally where petshops get their animals from. Furthermore, having animals in shop windows encourages impulse purchases, and adding an animal to your family should be a conscious, careful decision - NOT one to be made while shoe shopping.
Breeders contribute enormously to the tragic statistics above too. And it doesn't matter whether they're professional breeders or backyard breeders, and whether they breed for profit or not, because while there are homeless animals sitting on death row in shelters, any and all animal breeding is utterly irresponsible.
Now, here's where you come in. You can either be part of the problem or part of the solution. You can either buy animals from puppy mills, petshops or breeders and be part of the problem. Or you can adopt from a shelter or rescue organisation and be part of the solution.
If I haven't convinced you, visit your local shelter to see the homeless animals. Let their innocent faces convince you that adopting is the only responsible choice to make.
All information and photos are copyright © Despina Rosales.