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6 September 2011
Dogs are a man’s best friend, right? In most cases, yes. However, there is a sad undercurrent running through Britain in which these faithful animals are seen as nothing more than entertainment in the sickeningly barbaric sport that is dog fighting.
Though made illegal as far back as 1835, evidence suggests that underground dog fighting is on the increase in a number of towns and cities across the UK. This most unnecessary and gut-wrenching form of cruelty to dogs has also taken on a number of different, equally harrowing, forms.
First off is the straight-forward dog fight, which enforcement agencies suggest has increased by up to 400 per cent in recent years. Then there is badger-baiting, where dogs are set upon these usually gentle creatures until the badger is killed. Serious injuries will also be sustained by the dogs in these encounters.
Then there is terrier work, a practice which sees terrier-like dogs sent into fox earths, thereby forcing the fox out of its home to be killed. Bloody underground battles between the two animals are a regular feature of this activity.
Finally, there is the relatively new phenomenon of urban fox hunting. Here, dogs are set onto urban foxes with the aim of either a straight kill or a capture for an organized fight. Often, the fox is tied to a tree prior to being set upon and will cause some injuries in retaliation before succumbing to the inevitable, painful death.
For a nation of supposed animal lovers, these stories and statistics both disgust and horrify in equal measure. However, work is being done to combat this cruelty; there is a lot of information available from the League against Cruel Sports on how to stop dog fighting.
Supported by the likes of Ricky Gervais and Bill Oddie, the League works tirelessly in support of the animals subjected to these mindless forms of ‘entertainment’ and offers a number of ways for members of the public to get on board with the campaign.
The easiest way to do this is to simply become a member. The application process takes minutes and the League offer a number of membership schemes and options with a variety of perks and incentives.
The charity offers and encourages the opportunity for people to join a supporter group. These groups run information stalls in town centres and local events, raising the profile of the organisation, awareness of the problems and spreading the League message to the public.
Alternatively, it is possible to undertake some individual fund-raising with anything from raffles to a heart-stopping skydive.
The League also has a range of campaign literature, available for delivery free of charge, to help spread the message.
Finally, there is always the opportunity to volunteer. This would most likely take place at the League head office in Surrey, or at their sanctuaries in the West Country.
The dominant message is clear, simply spread the word. The campaign advocates contacting local MPs asking for tougher laws, informing friends and family of the state of dog-fighting in Britain today and using the confidential crimewatch service to report any suspicions.
The bond between man and dog is considered special, but is tarnished by these problems. In a modern world, there is simply no place for such mindless, abject cruelty.
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