It used to be that the word “dogfight” almost always made people think of fighter planes locked in aerial combat. Thanks to Michael Vick, the word is now back to its basic meaning—setting up two angry dogs for a fight to the death. Ironically, the pilot’s portion of a plane is called the “cockpit,” another word derived from the bloody gambling-related “sport” of arranging for two roosters to claw each other to death.
Mr. Vick is currently experiencing considerable condemnation, involuntary furlough from the NFL, and a serious decline in income, so I won’t pile on him any further. But frankly I find it a relief that Americans can still summon up at least some moral indignation over gratuitous cruelty to animals.
I am not a hunter, but I have no quarrel with people who kill to eat. There doesn’t seem to be any moral difference between ending an animal’s life with a deer rifle or a stun baton in an Omaha slaughteryard, as long as the point is to prepare food for people.
In the years after the Civil War, people used to take the train out to the prairie and shoot bison just to watch them drop. I sat once in a Madrid bull ring and had the decided pleasure of watching a bull (drugged and bleeding from the picadors) knock down and trample a strutting matador. Irritating and enraging two animals, and then setting them in a ring for a fight to the death for the sole purpose of enjoying the gory mayhem and betting on the outcome, is just wrong. Proverbs 12:10 says, “A righteous man cares for the needs of his animal, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel.”
Hey—did anybody remember to feed the goldfish today?