The bloody world of dog fighting: Victory or death, there is no mercy!

Published: April 28, 2014
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An intense dog fight can easily carry on for an hour. At the end of this dreadful sporting event, you’ll see dogs with ghastly injuries: ears torn apart, windpipes ruptured, eyes gouged out and tongues bitten off. PHOTO: AFP

An intense dog fight can easily carry on for an hour. At the end of this dreadful sporting event, you’ll see dogs with ghastly injuries: ears torn apart, windpipes ruptured, eyes gouged out and tongues bitten off. PHOTO: AFP An intense dog fight can easily carry on for an hour. At the end of this dreadful sporting event, you’ll see dogs with ghastly injuries: ears torn apart, windpipes ruptured, eyes gouged out and tongues bitten off. PHOTO: AFP

Warning: This post contains graphic content. 

With the ongoing global and national humanitarian crisis that I have been witnessing, working on and voicing out, I had never fathomed the thought of discovering a blood sport that would send shivers down my spine. It may seem outlandish to some in Pakistan to show unease over animal rights, while we all know a bit too well how our basic human rights are persecuted.

Nonetheless, blood sport, of any kind, is never acceptable and should not be tolerated in any way.

Recently, I came across a Facebook page that encouraged dog fighting. Then, I saw a few horrifying videos of this gruesome sport that can be easily accessed on the internet. Until recently, I imagined this sport to be an inclination of foreign lands; yet, as it turns out, this activity is quite the fad in the rural backdrops of our motherland.

A snapshot from Dogs fighting in Pakistan Facebook page

Dog fighting is a sport that has been banned in Pakistan. The organisers of this illegal sport can be sentenced to jail for up to six months and would also be liable to pay a fine. However, law enforcement authorities seem to have turned a blind eye to this deeply rooted and sickening mode of entertainment. Thereby, these tournaments are carried out unofficially via scheduled meetings by breeders, who decide the fight dates and the venue.

Moreover, you will find hoards of people indulging in this bloody passion. These people have a fairly tinted concept of entertainment where their snarling dogs battle, tear and bite in duels that lead to either victory or death.

There is no mercy.

There are hundreds of breeds of ‘man’s best friend’ that are used for the purpose of dog fighting. Bully (a type of Mastiff), Naagi, Dabba, Gull DongGull Terrier (not the Bull Terrier) and Pit bull are the breeds of dogs that are trained and bred to fight most commonly in Pakistan. Millions of rupees can be at stake for the masters of the winning dogs.

A kilogram of raw meat, 250 grams of oil mixed with desi butter, grinded pieces of chicken and almonds along with two litres of milk are generally the daily dietary requirements of breeding these dogs. On everyday basis, the training includes a minimum 30-minute-long swim in ice-cold water, running long distances and ending the day by hunting down a live chicken. And here I thought we were a poverty stricken country that couldn’t sustain even basic food requirements.

Pakistani owners urge on their dogs as spectators watch a dog fighting tournament outside the village of Lora in Abbottabad District. Photo: AFP

Most of these fights take place in the interior parts of our provinces. The fact that these fights are illegal doesn’t curtail large numbers of people coming out to witness this appalling entertainment. The fun infused with this outing has its fair share of sadism and utter disregard for animals. Audiences of this event find some sort of sadistic pleasure in watching these beasts faceoff, in which they see them ripping each other apart into shreds.

An intense dog fight can easily carry on for an hour. At the end of this dreadful sporting event, you’ll see dogs with ghastly injuries: ears torn apart, windpipes ruptured, eyes gouged out and tongues bitten off.

Pakistani owners and organisers separate fighting dogs during a tournament. Photo: AFP

What is worse is that if the master of the losing dog calls the fight a quit in between, he will club his hound with hockey sticks, electrocute it, poison it with naphthalene or simply just drown it with its legs tied. The master does this because his brittle ego has been punctured.

This is not an organised sport. It is commonly hosted by a selected few who are often the owners of these dogs. In most cases, I found out that there are specialised kennels that offer these dogs for sale. These suppliers advertise them as “bred only for the purpose of fighting”. Passion for this blood sport runs high as the masters of the dogs end up paying an enormous premium for a Bully or a Pit bull.

It might be difficult to determine where the line between entertainment and vicious pleasure for such activities is drawn. It should not come as a surprise then that there is a high price on the dogs that win accolades for being the most menacing in the country. Word does get out in this obscene sport and the dogs end up being smuggled in harrowing circumstances to find new owners that are no less ruthless than the last.

The Pakistan Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act that dates back to 1890 is in accordance with the government’s wildlife department and is responsible for tackling such violations of animal rights. Unfortunately, funds to deal with animal rights in the department have dried up. Hence, the law that should prevent dog fights, camel fights, bear-baiting and the likes is violated all over Pakistan.

Pakistani dogs grapple during a dog fighting tournament in northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P). Photo: AFP

Animal rights might be a far cry, but where is our intellect and our humanity?

For entertainment purposes, is it alright to breed dogs in order to have them kill each other?

I wouldn’t have given so much thought on the topic under discussion, had I not come across Facebook pages, websites and YouTube videos promoting this ghastly form of leisure. It is heart wrenching to see people indulging in such barbaric activities.

To hope for the government to take any serious note of this and those promoting such activities to stop may be a divergence from reality but then again, there is no harm in hoping.  After all, animals also teach us to be human.

Zara Hafeez

Zara Hafeez

A digital marketer, writer, a history buff, volunteer for humanitarian causes for The James Caan Foundation, UNICEF Promise for Children, among others and a tea-aholic. She tweets as @zara_hafeez (twitter.com/zara_hafeez)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • water bottle

    Sincere thanks for telling us this story.Recommend

  • Miss Syed

    Being an Ardent Animal lover. Owner of a beautiful pet. My heart bleeds when i see animals in this dismal situation. We call ourselves Muslims? We are not even humans!
    a prostitute was pardoned for having fed a thirsty dog and a pious woman turned up in hell for not feeding her cat + keeping it captive. Where are the MULLAHS now? where are the so called care takers of Islam. Despicable crime! Abominable humans.
    When will we wake up!Recommend

  • Dr. Ismail Nami @DrIsmailNami

    The most inhuman act done by so called cart-riders of humanity!Recommend

  • water bottle

    I understand your frustration.

    But when you say, “We call ourselves Muslims? We are not even humans!”…you are elevating Muslims above humanity.

    You need to look around the world and see why there is more violence in Muslim countries…

    I suggest you to read books by Mobarak Haider.Recommend

  • Hammad Mian

    Mullahs are already performing their positive role in the society. See yourself what you have done for the society.Recommend

  • jamshed_kharian_pak

    Very good fight thanksRecommend

  • Baffled

    This is just sickening. The writer is spot on in pointing out that “animals teach us to be humans”. Sadly, we are worse than animals!!
    These creatures don’t have a voice, but WE do! So thank you Express Tribune and Zara Hafeez for highlighting this issue. I hope cruelty of all forms stop. Where is our intellect and humanity, really?Recommend

  • ajeet

    It might have something to do with religion as you don’t see this in India.Recommend

  • just_someone

    this is so disgusting and so heart breaking. as a long time dog owner and immense dog lover as well as a muslim, i have to believe that Allah has a special place in hell for people who do this.

    no matter what they might do in life, their lack of caring for the kind of life we have to protect (i.e. the life that can not think for itself) will give them a one way ticket to hell.Recommend

  • lols

    desert cultureRecommend

  • sharabi

    I was not aware of such thing. Utter barbaric.
    Is there not any Animal Welfare or Police department in Pakistan?Recommend

  • SF

    It is still better than the blood thirst for human and war mongering of other group of peopleRecommend

  • water bottle

    You don’t see this. But there are equally deplorable practice of cockfight. Cockfights are as violent as dogfights. Just because this one forms your food doesn’t mean it is any less violent.

    Even though it is banned, it happens in villages even today. Especially in the rotten parts of Tamil Nadu.Recommend

  • Miss Syed

    Spare me the lecture on their ” Goodness” Our society is obsessed with religion. Where does that VERY religion go when such atrocities not just occur, but are celebrated everywhere.
    preposterousRecommend

  • Necromancer

    Why people always bring Islam………we are Muslims and we should not do this and that, instead can’t we just say that we are humans and we should not do thatRecommend

  • sarwarn
  • Adpran

    “Imagine if you were forced to fight with another human, and the animals were watching you as their entertainment”

    That’s what my Islamic teacher told me when I was kid.Recommend

  • Fawad Sharif

    Is it necessary to put, all the bad stuff going in the society, in the Mullah’s plate? What have you done despite of coursing and debasing the integrity of religious scholars through such comments?

    Yes these acts are condemn able and should be stopped & discourage but how can you link these acts to Mullahs?Recommend

  • Nobody

    Please tell me that was sarcasm.
    What positive role do you speak of?Recommend

  • Nobody

    There have been illegal dog fights around the US too. Still think it’s religion….Recommend

  • Miss Syed

    The answer lies in the question itself. Mullah’s or for that matter, religious scholors of Islam are respected for their knowledge, they are esteemed, people look upto them for they have Advanced knowledge of Fiqh ( Islamic jurisprudence) hence, have a huge number of followers. unfortunately, I don’t see Mullahs in Pakistan participating in ANY thing related to Animal Rights whilst they have very strong views on other “rather unnecessary ” topics.
    Regards,Recommend

  • Reddy

    Ha ha, people who do halal, eat meat are talking about Animal and cruelty! What a hypocrisy!Recommend

  • abubakar

    Clerics are elites’ favourite punching bag, whatever goes wrong, put the blame on them. When the truth is these elites are more responsible for our downfall than any clericRecommend

  • abubakar

    Of course, india is a utopia! Right?Recommend

  • TheDude

    Don’t need to imagine.Humans fighting other humans is called ‘boxing’ and ‘mixed martial arts'(mma) and animals in the audience are being entertained by it(even though they look human).Recommend

  • Adpran

    I know what you mean. But actually my Islamic teacher was talking about punishment that could be happen in hell if we (the boys) did animal fights.

    We must teach our children to care to animals if we want to eliminate, or at least reduce animal fights.Recommend

  • Ali

    Drinking cows milk is also animal cruelty, cause the milk is for the calf and whoever drinks milk is malnourishing the calf. Halal is the cleanest and most humane way to slaughter animals and we slaughter animals to feed ourselves. In your country most people are malnourished and go bed hungry. Not only are people malnourished but even cows are malnourished walking in garbage looking for food cause there is not enough food to go around. Isn’t that torture as well? And wht about the so called Balli of animals in hindu temples, how conveniently does ur hindu mindset ignore that?Recommend

  • Reddy

    Cow milk does not have life where as the halal animals do. Have you ever asked the animal how it feels when you kill it to eat it. Halal is one of the cruelest form of killing an animal that’s why some Scandinavian countries banned it. There are plenty of ways to get enough nutrition without killing animals. Very few low class (not cast) people do Bali and I am sure they are not lecturing others on animal cruelty.Recommend

  • Gaurav C

    The calf first feeds the mother and then the remaining milk is used for human consumption, though i agree that we all should be completely vegan.

    Halal may be the cleanest but not humane, you cut the throat (not your spinal cord , so you can still feel
    pain and move your limbs) and left to bleed to death which for
    the record can take up to two minutes. The goat I saw bucked, kicked and
    squirmed a full minute after butcher had taken a machete to its neck.
    (Never try on yourself or your near and dear, you will know the pain)

    That is why in Saudi Arabia a sword is used to take of head so that the nerve contact with brain is broken. Halal is not used for death punishment.

    Regarding Balli now majority Hindus do not advocate it though in Balli you immediately severe the head before any nerve impulse reaches brain.

    Raising animals for food is the biggest waste of natural resources
    http://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-food/meat-wastes-natural-resources/Recommend

  • Naeem

    This “sport” is a favourite of elites. The Saradrs, The Chouhdaris, The Zameendars, etc, etc.Recommend

  • rasgullah

    Now I have a new-found respect for the Arabic civilization.Recommend

  • Inderjeet Singh

    For you Pakistanis, this may be sport, but for the civilized world it is pure and simple barbarism. As a vegan, I find this a horrendous practice, and I sincerely hope that there are humane and sensible Pakistanis who will take action to stop it. Pakistan needs to pass and strictly enforce legislation banning such “sports”. The World Animal Welfare Federation has also condemned another cruel “sport” in Pakistan, in which underfed, starved and weak black bears are pitted against equally starved but ferociously aggressive and blood-thirsty hounds that tear into the flesh of the poor bear. It is the height of sadism; shame Pakistan. I am from India which had other problems such as cockfights but it has passed strict laws against such sport, and, generally, against cruelty against animals; such an organized cruel and barbaric dog fight in India would create a public outrage; our animal lovers work pro-actively to protect animals in general. Even slaughter of certain animals meant for human consumption has to be done humanely. Please, Pakistani animal lovers, do something to stop this barbaric crime against the mute creatures.Recommend

  • Mani cheetos

    Most of the particulars mentioned by the writer are factual. But
    associating this deed to an explicit group / though is not defensible. All the
    comments i have read on the blogs are from the people who never had the
    experience of such act. I have been part of this for almost 6 years, though i
    quit 8 years back. But the reason for quitting had nothing to do with the
    religion.

    Just to add up on the writer’s blog here are few realities / argument of the act?

    Dogs have their own natural way of establishing a chain of command hierarchy. Same as in other animals of the Universe e.g Male lions fight for winning a group of
    females then killing all the cubs of the previous alpha lion, Buffalo do the
    same and so on………….. The dogs are doing what is natural to them (i am not supporting / countering the argument). They are not as intelligent as we humans are. But can someone elaborate that if this is brutal or cannibalism then why boxing, kick boxing, free style wrestling, american footabll, rugby etc are allowed and being watched as a sports around the globe of so called Humans.

    If the argument stands still for animals then how come the civilized world of Humans are allowed to do so. You can force a Human to get involved into something brutal, but you can’t force an animal to do so. The animal will do it on its instinct, prey drive, intuition etc. If one thinks that even this is not a worth wile argument then go in the natural habitat of animal kingdom and stop them from doing so or raise you
    concerns and voice over the same sort of sports being played and enjoyed by so
    called Humans.

    I am not here to prove anything but just to highlight a new side of the argument.
    Still i would state that i have neither for nor against the act.Recommend

  • Manicheetos

    This simply is nature not a sports nor barbarism…………………………………….Recommend

  • Jon

    This is terrable stop this at once
    Recommend

  • sughra

    Being an Ardent Animal lover. Owner of a beautiful pet. My heart bleeds when i see animals in this dismal situation. We call ourselves Muslims? We are not even humans!DogsThe answer lies in the question itself. Mullah’s or for that matter, religious scholors of Islam are respected for their knowledge,Recommend

  • Kane

    ANACONDARecommend