-JUMPS RACING: The ‘sport’ involves the racing of horses who are forced to jump over fixed obstacles usually about a metre high, for long distances and whilst travelling at high speeds. This is distressing and frightening to the horses, who are put under great physical, psychological and physiological stress. Their limb co-ordination is affected and coupled with high jumps and high speeds, the slightest mistake or misplacement of their body can be fatal. Many horses break their necks and die instantly; those who suffer catastrophic injuries are euthanased, and some horses are rendered lame after accidents. Jumps racing is now only legal in Victoria and South Australia, which disgusts and embarrasses me as a Victorian. Here is an extract from Humane Society International’s article on the topic:
'Horses are prey animals who are extremely cautious and vigilant about their safety. They are terrified of falling because of their innate consciousness of being eaten by a predator once they are lying on the ground.
‘Jumps horses are not willing participants in the extremely dangerous sport of jumps racing, which constantly challenges their physical ability to retain stability while galloping and jumping over fixed obstacles at speed and whilst fatigued.’
-WHIPS: Whipping a horse to increase its speed is not even effective, but moreover, it is cruel and distressing to the animal. Shamefully, laws in Australia to regulate whipping in the racing industry were backtracked due to complaints (I find this embarrassing as an Australian, that laws regarding the ethical treatment of animals were reversed to keep people happy, placing the humans’ needs above the animals’). For more: http://www.rspca.org.au/how-you-can-help/campaigns/whips-in-racing/
'Of course there is a place in our community for the horse whip. It belongs alongside the school strap in the museum as an example of past brutality.’ – Mirko Bagaric: Professor of Law and Head of Deakin Law School
ANIMALS IN FILM:
This is an edited extract from the Wikipedia page, ‘Cruelty to animals’:
'Animal cruelty has long been an issue with the art form of filmmaking, with even some big-budget Hollywood films receiving criticism for allegedly harmful—and sometimes lethal—treatment of animals during production. One of the most infamous examples of animal cruelty in film was Michael Cimino's legendary flop Heaven’s Gate, in which numerous animals were brutalised and even killed during production. Cimino allegedly killed chickens and bled horses from the neck to gather samples of their blood to smear on actors for Heaven’s Gate, and also allegedly had a horse blown up with dynamite while shooting a battle sequence, the shot of which made it into the film. Tripwires were used against horses when Rambo III, The Thirteenth Warrior and Reds were being filmed. An ox was sliced nearly in half during production of Apocalypse Now, while a donkey was bled to death for dramatic effect for the film Manderlay, in a scene later cut from the film.’
While there are some regulations regarding the treatment of animals in films, there are countries in which animal cruelty continues in filmmaking, such as Spain, South Korea, Italy, etc. (e.g. the skinning of a live frog, the beheading of a monkey, the list goes on). YouTube also has videos which portray animal cruelty, however on the whole does not remove them, instead opting to be extremely vigilant in their deletion of videos breaching copyright. They certainly have their priorities straight, don’t they? Check for the American Humane Association-accredited ‘No Animals Were Harmed’® disclaimer at the end of films and TV programmes. Victoria’s Animal Welfare Legislation was updated in 2008, and has a section regarding animals in film. For a full list of the regulations, see here: http://www.dpi.vic.gov.au/agriculture/about-agriculture/legislation-regulation/animal-welfare-legislation/codes-of-practice-animal-welfare
MARINE PARKS/PERFORMING ANIMALS:
An unfortunate fate awaits a dolphin, seal, whale or any other animal held in captivity who is forced to perform tricks for adoring crowds. Let us begin with how these animals are collected, and we’ll look at dolphins as an example. The dolphins are ‘caught’ by a fleet of boats who drive them to a lagoon using a wall of sound (which distresses the dolphins – they are very sensitive to sound), before selecting the ones they deem to be good ‘show dolphins’ and slaughtering the rest. The dolphins (and other animals) are subject to a life of captivity, performing tricks and deprived of meaningful interactions and relationships with others of their own species (not to mention they would have been torn from their family, which is obviously distressing in itself). We need to stop supporting marine parks and any establishment who train animals as performers, as every cent we give to them only fuels a fire which desperately needs to be put out.
Animals in circuses are confined to tiny cages/enclosures, receive little-to-no veterinary care, are yelled at, forced to engage in unnatural behaviour, can be mishandled and are subject to abusive training, which includes the use of whips, chains and other instruments. What I would advise on this front, obviously, is not supporting circuses which contain animals. And, as with anything, contacting them to make known your disapproval is recommended, because you are letting them know it is an issue. Circus Oz is a great animal-free circus.
BULLFIGHTING AND RODEOS:
Stress and danger for purpose of entertainment occurs in both of these ‘sports’. Bullfighting is barbaric, violent and causes distress and slow, painful death. The bull is tortured using spears, spikes and daggers, causing blood loss and pain. The matador eventually kills the bull, or they drown in their own blood due to the matador piercing their lungs instead of heart. Then, the spinal cord is severed at the neck, the bull being dragged away (sometimes the bull is still alive).
Rodeos also cause distress to animals by provoking them with spurs, electric rods and flank straps, just so people can see ‘wild’ behaviour. Many animals are killed or injured and subsequently put down. Rodeos are banned in Britain and some parts of Europe and the US. Australia’s laws vary between states, but Queensland’s laws are the weakest. Victoria and Tasmania have banned calf roping and Victoria has regulations regarding electric prods. Once again, the withdrawal of support and opinionated correspondence (whether via email, letter or phone) are the ways to go.