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Nobody thinks animal bloodsports are boring. They're sure to get the blood pumping, although whether that's from the excitement of watching the fight or outrage at seeing such cruelty depends on the observer. Animal Bloodsports come in two varieties: animal versus animal, and animal versus human.

Animal versus animal bloodsports involving two similar animals include cockfighting and dogfighting, most prominently. With dissimilar animals involved, bear-baiting and badger-baiting -- having dogs attack a leashed bear or badger, respectively -- may be observed. Animal versus animal bloodsports may also involve betting, and the attendant attempts to rig the game. Naturally, animals themselves can't be paid off to take a dive, so the methods used to change the animal's chances may be clinical, perhaps involving the services of a not-so-Kindly Vet.

Animal versus human bloodsports can be further divided into sports where the odds are overwhelmingly on the human's side (although not so much as to obviate the need for the human to be skilled), as with a bullfight, a roughly fair fight, or sports in which the odds are on the animal's side. At the extreme of the odds being on the human's side, it effectively ceases to be a sport (insofar as it ever was) and becomes an animal Snuff Film. At the extreme of the odds being on the animal's side, the human is simply Fed to the Beast. Generally, where the odds are not in the humans' favor (being either roughly even or in the animal's favor), see Gladiator Games.

Fox hunting is a hybrid, with human and animal vs. animal, with humans and dogs double-teaming foxes. Whereas most animal bloodsports seem to mark the dark side of the lower classes, fox hunts are the the province of the upper-crust.

Regardless of the type, Animal Bloodsports are usually -- but far from unanimously -- regarded as repellent. Dogfighters are regarded as scum. Cockfighters may get off a little easier, but are still unsavory. Animal bloodspots may also serve as a sign of the unpleasant aspects of bygone times, with Medieval Morons enjoying the cruel spectacle without modern qualms. As for when humans are involved, bullfighters -- perhaps because they put themselves at risk (although not as much as the bull), rather than just having the animals fight it out -- may be a little better. Some Spaniards in Real Life are defensive about bullfighting, especially against foreign critics, as a distinctive part of their culture which foreigners don't get, although a majority of Spaniards dislike bullfighting.

Compare Mons, where there's an element of training and capturing/collecting the animals as well and Attack Animal for when animals are used as actual weapons, rather than a spectator sport.

Examples of Beastly Bloodsports include:


  • This is one of the fates in store for many of the poached creatures during the Poaching Arc of The Tainted Grimoire.


  • In Talk to Her, one of the characters is a bullfighter. Her profession is not questioned, and may even add to her sex appeal.
  • In The Littlest Hobo (the original 1958 film not the Canadian series based on it) the title dog gets caught up in the dogfighting circuit for a short period.


  • In The Cross Time Engineer, one of Conrad Stargard's first controversial acts is to euthanize a bear that's being used for bear-baiting.
  • George R. R. Martin's Haviland Tuf short story "A Beast for Norn". The twelve Great Houses of the planet Lyronica use creatures native to their planet as combatants in gaming pits. Tuf disapproves of this cruelty to animals, so he sells each of the Houses an alien creature that annihilates the other Houses' creature in combat. He charges an ever-increasing outrageous fee for each creature, makes sure that each one has a serious side effect that will make it useless, and gives each House an extra creature that devastates its ecosystem. As a result, all of the Houses end up going bankrupt.
  • Hugh Lofting's novel The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle. While in the Capa Blanca Islands, Doctor Dolittle makes a wager with a powerful nobleman that the noble will end bullfighting in the islands if the Doctor can perform more tricks with a bull than any of the local matadors. He then talks to the bulls and convinces them to help him put on a show so that they won't have to die in the bullring any more.
  • Horse fights are a popular entertainment in the world of the Icelandic Sagas, and will always become the catalyzer of a quarrel or feud. A prominent example occurs in Njal's Saga.
  • One of the central conflicts of The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents involves the terrier rings where the terriers compete to kill the greatest number of rats.
  • Jane Yolen's Pit Dragon Trilogy is set in a society where dragon-fighting is popular (dragon vs. dragon, directed by their human Mindlink Mates).
  • Mentioned in Assassin of Gor: an arena where Gladiator Games are held is also used for animal-vs-animal fights. Sometimes it's even flooded and aquatic animals are pitted against one another.
  • In White Fang by Jack London, White Fang (a wolf/dog hybrid) is forced to become a pit dog, and it turns him into a deadly monster. He has to fight wolves, multiple dogs at a time, even a lynx once. The last fight he was in was against a bulldog, and it nearly killed him, until some men arrived and broke up the fight. One of them cared for White Fang, who eventually was tamed by his kind new master.
  • Duke Leto's father in Dune was killed in a bullfight. The prequels by Brian Herbert added that the bull that killed him was hopped up on stimulants rather than sedated like it should have been. A tool of assassination. The original didn't attribute any foul play.
  • In Dead Witch Walking, the first book of The Hollows series, Rachel Morgan is transformed into a mink and placed into bloodsport matches against other predators; some of whom are also transformed humans.
  • Many of Ernest Hemingway's works deal with bullfighting, including The Dangerous Summer, Death in the Afternoon and The Sun Also Rises.
  • The Great Train Robbery devotes a chapter to describing a Victorian "ratting" establishment, a place where patrons bet on how many rats the dogs can kill within a time limit. Bank manager Edgar Trent keeps several ratting dogs; train robber Edward Pierce fakes interest in the sport in order to strike up an acquaintance with Trent and surreptitiously learn of the bank's security measures.

Live Action TV

  • One episode of Badger (a TV series about a cop investigating wildlife crimes) involved breaking up a badger baiting ring.
  • A House episode involves a patient who catches psittacosis thanks to his involvement in a cockfighting ring.
  • A Seinfeld episode involves Kramer realizing that he has improbably come into custody of a fighting cock. When the fight comes, Kramer leaps in to save the cock.
  • Animal Precinct and other animal rescue shows often have animal cruelty agents busting up dog-fighting rings. Fighting dogs often have to be euthanized because they are too dangerous to be rehabilitated and put up for adoption, and some of the worst cruelty cases these investigators have to take on involve "bait dogs," which are dogs used as bait and "practice" for fighting dogs.
  • Bones: A Victim of the Week is a veteranarian who is trying to shut down a dogfighting ring.
  • CSI did a Very Special Episode involving dogfighting...'Lying Down With Dogs', where a wealthy humanitarian was found dead and then found to be involved in dogfighting.
  • Friends: When Ross was looking for zoos to take his monkey Marcel, one of the prospects asks how good Marcel is with a knife, and it quickly becomes apparent that he's running some sort of animal fighting park.
  • Being Human: Vampires in this universe take the traditional dog fight and crank it up a notch. The result? Werewolf fights.


  • Tom Lehrer's "In Old Mexico" is primarily about a bullfight.


  • Cockfighting plays a major role in the Bold Venture episode "Death By A Fighting Bird", where a gamecock is used as an Animal Assassin.

Tabletop RPG

  • Stormbringer supplement Demon Magic, adventure "The Velvet Circle." The Rooster's Wail is a cockfighting establishment in the Velvet Circle. Anyone is allowed to pit their fighting bird against another for a small fee. The current champion is named Desert Spur and belongs to the arena's owner. An adventure seed has Desert Spur being stolen and the PCs being implicated in the crime.

Video Games

  • Pokémon is a notable aversion -- or at least avoidance -- of the idea that animal fighting is always despicable, but then again, they are Mix-and-Match Critters and other fantasy animals, not real ones.
    • While Pokemon may be encouraged to fight each other, in other respects trainers are obliged to take good care of them.
  • Dragon Quest VIII has Mori's Monsterous Pit, where the player is given a starter set and is tasked with finding and recruiting stronger ones to battle in the arena.
  • Kingdom of Loathing has an adventure in the South of the Border area where you can bet on a cockfight -- or refuse in disgust: "This flagrant display of cruelty to living creatures disgusts you. You decide to head back to the Icy Peak and eviscerate some more Yetis."
  • Mass Effect 2 lets Shepard bet on Varren (alien dog thing) fights.
  • The town of Toroledo in Alundra 2: A New Legend Begins has a bullfighting ring as a Betting Minigame. The twist is that the fights are bull vs bull rather than bull vs matador.
  • In Thief you can eavesdrop on a conversation between two guards discussing bear fighting; one will lament that he remembers fighting bears being more savage when he was younger, and the pit owners didn't need to give the bears paw hooks or razor collars to keep the fights interesting.

Web Comics

Western Animation

  • The 1952 Bugs Bunny short "Bully for Bugs" has him facing off against a strong, fast and smart bull in a rather unconventional bullfight. Watch it here.

Real Life

  • Real-life Gladiator Games in ancient Rome had this trope on mornings (both animals pitted against each other or lightly-armed fighters against animals), executions (including Fed to the Beast) at noon while most people had left the circus for lunch, and gladiator combat in the afternoon.
  • Boarhunting(called pigsticking during The Raj) was a nobleman's sport for ages. It was a fairer then many as it was carried out with lances rather then missile weapons and wild boars were known for their ferocity; many were injured during boar hunts. In some ways it was a practice for cavalry warfare.
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