Saturday, May 30, 2009

Canine Carnage and the Bloodcapades

What Off the Chain lacks in production value it makes up for in sheer brutality.

The film provides a brief historical overview of the development of the Pitbull terrier. Brought to North America by upper-class Irish immigrants, these dogs were orginally pitted against live stock -- bulls -- in a bloodsport. When staging fights between dogs and bulls was outlawed the owners of the animals instead simply matched the dogs against one another.

Today dog fights are illegal. That, however, has done little to curb the continuing, organized manner in which these fights are being staged.

The extent to which dog men train their animals in the same manner in which human fighters train is remarkable. Conditioning through running and swimming are as much a part of dogfighting as they are human bloodsports like the UFC.

Unlike human athletes, there is no limit to what dog men will do to their animals. In one case, a dog man demonstrates a technique he developed where he drugs his dog so he can file its teeth into the sharpest points he can manage. Of all the depravities exerted on human athletes -- including the forced use of steroids by Soviet athletes -- few things compare to this.

The most important difference between the two is that human fighters enter competition of their own free will. The dogs matched against each other in dog fighting have no opportunity to choose.

Unlike a human competitor, the dogs matched against one another in dogfights are often denied medical attention after their matches. Even dog men who insist that they love their dogs dearly admit to killing a dog who quits or can no longer compete -- sometimes by truly brutal means. And they always seem to speak of their dogs purely in monetary terms.

One dog man talks about his dog being worth $20,000, and talks about putting down dogs who fail to produce for him -- hardly the way one treats a living creature that he actually cares about to the extent that this individual claims to care for his dog.

This is of little surprise. Who, after all, could doubt the sincerity of someone who raises a dog just so it can be maimed in battle against another dog?

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