Dog Fight Betting Spurs Controversy in China

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Chinese media has picked up new reports on dog fighting competitions from a video that has been spreading across social media throughout China. The fights are taking place in China’s southwestern province of Sichuan in which betters are wagering up to about US$1700 per fight to see which dog can take the other down. Some of the fights result in death of certain dogs while most of the time is broken up when a certain dog begins to show defeat or is bleeding profusely.

 

The competitions have been reportedly held by underground groups formed by locals who admittedly know the sport is illegal yet chose to follow through with the betting out of interest and face. The group putting the event on reportedly held several of such events but was only recently discovered when a bystander filmed a recent competition that soon spread quickly on the Internet following the rise of anger and frustration from many animal activists and supporters.

 

Luckily, after making its way to the online world the video prompted police to arrest the organizers of the event as well as participants in which they have now been issued to serve jail time and pay fines. While such news is not new to China, what is more appealing is the government’s effort to crack down on such illegal activity and push forth a more humane society that cares for dogs and other animals. China may have a long way to go with this considering many people in China still consider dog to be a delicacy, however, but such news reminds people the activity is still highly illegal and susceptible to being revealed due to the rise of smartphone usage within the country.

 

Animal fighting has long been a popular sport in China that dates back thousands of years when emperors would watch cockfights. There are few records indicating the popularity of dog fighting but fights between other animals were largely accepted throughout most kingdoms of China, as it was often a form of entertainment for high-ranking officials. Peasants meanwhile also took to this form of gambling to help them earn more money and appear to have done it in a more underground fashion in order to avoid conflict with a sport that was also enjoyed by the emperor- a major taboo in China – and this also gave the peasants face due to the fact they were able to raise a strong animal.

 

In 2015 such events are still prone to happen due to the Chinese history of gambling and because the nation is still going through reforms that are prompting increased regulation on such activities. Additionally, with the rise of smartphones equipped with cameras these events are becoming more transparent and Chinese more than ever are also being educated about the cruelty these events bring to animals. Nevertheless, China has the world’s largest population and millions of people who still live in the country side and are uneducated, which means the likelihood of such unfortunate events are likely to occur more than in other countries.

 

In terms of gambling in China, all forms are illegal. This means not only will the organizers of such fights be convicted of abuse toward animals they will also be convicted of illegal gambling. The report failed to say how severe the ramifications are from this dog-fighting event other than that fines and jail time will most likely be imposed.

 

Gambling restrictions are not showing any signs of loosening up since they took a major turn in the 1970s in line of the Cultural Revolution when all forms of gambling were outlawed followed by open door policies in China that pushed revolutions and reforms in China’s overall policies. China has come a long way to push reforms, open its doors and tackle problems with gambling in order to push its society forward after seeing its economy in the doldrums for years. For now, Macau remains the only gambling hub due to the area’s history of being disassociated with the motherland for many years and is starting to see a slowdown in revenues as well as the government cracks down on corruption and money laundering associated with gambling to the area.

 

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