Animals have been used in sports since long but the enjoyment of humans in front of these animals is just a facade. They are working animals which make the owners gain a lot on them. They are well trained to please the people who sometimes travel a long way to see these acts like in the Corrida in various European countries. Some are ready to buy tickets to see the thrill engaged between the bull and the trainer. The bulls are also often taken as an amusement tool. The aim is to stay the longer on the back of the bull just to show off. Well, animals have feelings too and if they are throwing people out of their back means that it is unpleasant for them. The most common animals in sports is racing – horse racing in Mauritius. It has become more an industry than a simple entertainment. Horses and dogs have to give their bests during competition and are often wounded. Horses are whipped by their riders. It is very sad to see that when they can no longer be performant, they are left aside and sometimes condemned to death.
Riding an elephant or a camel is a bucket-list item for tons of people around the world, but fans of these animals are usually unaware of the cruelty behind their picturesque Instagram photos. For these animals forced into the tourism industry— or assaulted in the wild by thrill-seeking humans-the experience is quite the opposite of the epitome of adventure, joy and harmony with nature to be felt and enjoyed by the ones on those rides. In order to make elephants submit to elephant rides and other human interactions, they are taken from their mothers when babies and forced through a horrific training process known as ‘the crush’. This initial training phase will involve physical restraints, inflicting severe pain and withholding food and water. The cruelty does not end after the crush as life as an elephant used for rides can be gruelling. When not working, these elephants are chained by their legs with some of them even developing foot problems which are very rarely treated. Moreover, elephants need at least 200 kilograms of food and 150 litres of water daily, but working elephants often receive too little food and water sometimes starving them to death. Nonetheless to say, exposed to lousy sanitary conditions, these elephants have also been found suffering from skin ailments, eye infections, cataracts.
Another instance whereby animals are used as entertainment tools are in circuses, zoos or aquariums. In circuses, we are amazed by the stunts pulled by these beasts. But the back story of how they are trained portrays a different picture. Adrenaline laced with fear pulsing through their blood, these creatures are made to abide by the rules of the game by inflicting pain upon them or by denying them food and water. They are made to do unnatural things like jumping through flames as they fear punishments, are denied normal exercise and socialisation and are furthermore shackled and chained for 90% of their lives.
In zoos or aquariums, they are held in captivity and put in display to be the eye candies of humans. Snatched away from their natural habitat, they are made to live in artificial settings which are often unable to provide the suitable environment for each type of animal present. For example, animals such as giraffes and zebras were designed, and are built, to run across miles of terrain, something they cannot do in captivity. This can lead to depression and trauma among these creatures. Moreover, the artificial surroundings disrupt their natural mating cycle and hunting activities.
However, sometimes zoos or aquariums are the only way out to prevent species from going extinct. These four walls protect them from dangers such as illegal poaching or environmental issues which they might face in their natural habitats. For example, the Casela Nature and Leisure Park was initially built for this sole purpose. In addition, nowadays zoos and aquariums are being built or renovated to better adapt the needs of the animals and the people who work in these institutions are also more educated about these earthlings. So, the utility and the importance of these parks are debatable. Are they built for monetary gain obtained by the exhibition of animals or for the welfare of these species instead.
Gambling on animals is unethical and inhumane too. Horse racing, dog fighting and cock fighting are often cited. Horses are whipped, forced to push their limits and end their race with debilitating injuries. On British racecourses alone, more than 400 horses die every year. If the horses do not perform, some will simply be shot or slaughtered to death. In dog fighting, the dogs are usually starved to death before the fight to trigger aggressive instinct. They are encouraged to fight to death. It ends up with a couple of dog corpses full of blood. Blood sport — cock fighting and dog fighting — turns a blind eye to animal rights. By gambling on animals, we are all upholding these practices.
Therefore, it is high time people open their eyes on what is being done. Ironically, humans are slowly drifting away from humanity. But, this should not be it. At ELI Africa’s ELI Wooff, we encourage you to take a stand against animal malpractices. This is the time for humanity. So join our cause and let’s protect all animals around the world!