Trial of Two Centuries
Opening Statements
Public Executions
Human v. Human Sport
Animal v. Animal Sport Human v. Animal Sport Closing Statements Witness List End Notes & Bibliography

Animal v. Animal Sport : Bull-Baiting

{Note: Bull-Baiting and Bear-Baiting is extremely similar, except that Bull-Baiting is more common due to the scarcity and cost of bears.}

[no artist listed] Bear Baiting 1795 [From The Sporting Magazine, London]

[The prosecution calls David Dells to the stand.]

Prosecution: How long is the bull baited for?

Dells: For about an hour at a time.1

Prosecution: Does the dog die after each baiting?

Dells: No.

Prosecution: What is the impact of baiting on the dog?

Dells: The dogs often have their sides ripped open by the bull. This usually leaves the dogs entrails protruding.2

Bull-Baiting: The Bull Breaks Loose [Wymer's Sport in England (p.113)]

Prosecution: How many dogs bait the bull at once?

Dells: Many, sometimes there are twenty to thirty dogs biting and goring the bull.3

Prosecution: Is bull-baiting simply a sport for entertainment?

Dells: It is often utilized for means of advertisement. Rented bulls baited in front of a pub draws large crowds.4

Prosecution: What does the bull attempt to do?

Dells: To get his horns under the dogs’ belly and put his force into the dogs knocking them up in the air.5

Prosecution: What does this do to the dog?

Dells: It hurts him, but not as much as the bull would like.

Prosecution: Why do people watch bull-baiting?

Dells: They enjoy the gore, the plunge into the animal. It releases stress as they often relate or side with a particular animal. They win with the animal.

Prosecution: What would the dogs attempt to do to the animal being baited?

Dells: They bite at its horns and into its skin.

Prosecution: How does this impact the bulls?

Dells: The bulls get very bloodied by the end of the day.

H.B. Chalon Lord Camelford's Dog, Trusty, 'a celebrated fighting dog.'" 1806


[Prosecution calls Lord Edward Paulings to the stand.]

Prosecution: What do the dogs try to do to the bulls?

Paulings: They attempt to immobilize them at all costs.

Prosecution: Could you provide an example?

Paulings: The dogs bite onto the bull’s nose and do not let go. This pins the bull to the ground. … Any way that they can pin the bull with their teeth.6

Prosecution: What is the impact on the dogs?

Paulings: The dogs often lose a leg as result of the attack of the animal being baited. Sometimes, they lose two or three legs.7

Prosecution: Do you feel that these animals normally would attack each other outside of the arena of baiting?

Paulings: No.

Prosecution: Why do you believe this?

Paulings: … This brings to mind an article I read in the Sporting News. It described the case where a dog and bull slept in the same stable … They remain calm and loving in the stable … Yet, in the bull-baiting arena, they constantly baited and tore at each other’s flesh.8 It must have been quite an unusually cruel task by the trainer.

[Defense Cross-examines Paulings]

Defense: Lord Paulings, you seem to have a good recollection of the article on the sport, if you are so much against bull-baiting and bear-baiting how come you have seen it yourself?

Paulings: I don’t understand your tone. …

Defense: So, then you do personally enjoy the baiting of animals?

Paulings: That’s preposterous. [The Lord is clearly offended] …

[Defense calls British Noble Abraham Ebbelstone to the stand.]

Defense: Do people care about the dogs being baited?

Ebbelstone: Yes, in fact, it is commonly known that when a dog is trapped under the bull and can neither move nor catch his breath, the men standing around pull the dog off to promote fair play by allowing the dog to breathe.9

Defense: Does bull-baiting elongate the life of a bull?

Ebbelstone: Yes, it can, because by having a use in society, the bull is not slaughtered and eaten as quickly as some might want to if he did not give them financial game.

Defense: Is bull and bear-baiting beneficial to British society?

Ebbelstone: Yes, it is.

Defense: How is it good for society?

Ebbelstone: It brings the populace of a community together.

Defense: Could you provide the court with examples?

Ebbelstone: In many towns bear baiting is an important ritual to celebrate the mayor’s election. Beverly and Liverpool are two important places that utilize this custom.10

Defense: So, then it is an important tradition for the people?

Ebbelstone: Yes. It provides much joy for the people.


[The Prosecution Cross-examines Ebbelstone.]

Prosecution: You claim that bull-baiting elongates the bulls life, but does it not give the bull a life of pain?

Ebbelstone: For some, pain is better than death.

Prosecution: Over the history of England, have any traditions become deemed wrong for society?

Ebbelstone: Yes.

Prosecution: And were they made illegal?

Ebbelstone: Yes.

Prosecution: Have some pagan rituals become illegal?

Ebbelstone: Yes.

Copyright © 1999 Lara Zador and Jason Winokur. All rights reserved.
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