Dog fighting is apparently on the rise, and Channel 4 are putting out a documentary tonight (Thursday 12th June) investigating the issue.
Not only is dog fighting incredibly cruel to the animals who are made to fight, training the dogs usually involves a ‘bait dog’, a dog used to give the fighting breeds a taste of blood.
The sheer cruelty of dog fighting and baiting is a huge issue, but dog fighting also has a lot of links to organised crime, and is a popular past time involving betting, and prize specimens are said to be worth up to £50,000.
In ‘Going to the Dogs’, the Channel 4 documentary, filmmaker Penny Woolcock focuses on Birmingham, and looks into the dog fighting world there and the connections it has with organised crime.
Dog fighting has been illegal since 1835, but it is currently on the rise. Although exact figures and scales are difficult to estimate, authorities report a 400% increase in the amount of cases over the last couple of years.
The head of intelligence for the League Against Cruel Sports said: “Dog fighting can range from a few individuals in a park to large organised events in arenas with many spectators.
“The top fighting dogs are worth thousands of pounds but it is also about prestige. The dogs are regarded as status symbols by their owners.”
The League Against Cruel Sports campaigns to protect animals from cruelty disguised as sport, such as dog fighting and fox hunting. They have viewed a screening of the documentary on Channel 4 and are encouraging others to watch it when it is on tonight, Thursday 12th June on Channel 4 at 10pm.