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

The blood. The deluge of human and animal blood that has been shed in the name of "entertainment" must neither be forgiven nor permitted. I ask the members of the jury to sympathetically look upon the victims of these acts-did these victims not suffer? Did these victims not bleed? Did these victims not call out in helpless pain? The victims of the eighteenth century English practice of bloodsport and public execution must never be forgotten. Today, the jury will decide whether these victims died needlessly, or if mere entertainment overrides the basic right to live of both humans and animals. We are not debating the right to leisure, the right to regulate society, but the most fundamental right, the right that should never be denied to any citizen: the right to live without fear and without pain. While the defense would probably argue that public executions provide an example for what society should not do, they also provide an example of what society can become: an angry mob reveling in the suffering of others. We do not want an England that glorifies death and pain. We do not want our children to think that it is okay to watch others die. Do you, the jury want your own children to laugh at death, rendering it without importance?

The evidence demonstrates that this so-called entertainment does have an adverse effect on the individual. We have clearly demonstrated that it leads to the death of the innocent and torture of the mind of the family. We as British citizens have for too long devalued human life and have not taken a stand as men have died in the streets and in the sports arenas. We have provided fact after fact about the cruelties of boxing which up until recently allowed the use of sticks and whatever the man deemed necessary to maim the opponent. How, without the round limits and due to the bare knuckle style many men face permanent injury. Injury which we could not even document as men have not thought enough about the individuals to take records. In the streets, men in acts similar to organized pugilism, hit when the other is down and on the ground. We have seen our streets turn into big football fields on our holidays; days of rest and relaxation turned into riot by angry dissidents. We turn our eyes away as men kick and punch each other in the guise of sport. We laugh and cheer as men take sticks to each other and bleed the opponent. Pretty funny when it is not you; you might think. However, it should be and is the job of this court to think for that individual who can not be here today. The cock who is trained to fight and bleed to death so others can stand up and clap. Even worse, the cock that is tied down as men throw objects at it until it is dead. Think of the other animals which have no voice: the dogs missing legs and torn open by the bulls and bears who live a life of torture and pain. These animals have not even committed a crime, so why must we allow society to? For what? To most it is simply a question of money as they bet on the victor. Are there not better sources of income? Better gambles to make than the life of a man or an animal that does not even know what money is used for?

The total excessiveness in all this unneeded gore can be found in a recent Sporting Magazine. I would like to read the article to the jury.

Man has butchered man and animal a like for too long. We can not continue to present these models for our children. We teach them the Christian [and whatever other religion they might be in] ethics, the ten commands as we want them to live positive lives. But, to promote blood and death along side the important morals that we need our children to have, then we are not progressing as a society. When death and torture becomes an amusing part of life then war finds itself in that position. We can no longer sit back as citizens and allow our society to continue on this path when we can prosper. Those animals: the baiting dog, baited bull, cock etc., are made to live in such pain that none of us could imagine, so we don't. Yet, we must put our mind in that place and decide if we would want such a life. As jurors, you have to decide if you think you would want to see a member of your family tortured in public. And the joys we as people sometimes feel in that persons/animals misery, we must examine it. We have demonstrated the evils of those forms of leisure. Now, you must look at yourself and decide, do I want to laugh and cheer at the death of others, the torture of others, the cruel tearing of flesh, drawing of blood, breaking of limbs sights that we call entertainment? These people, these animals, these men, these women, they all have feelings and souls. Consider you soul for a moment. Do you not feel that you are hurting your own soul and salvation by inflicting this hatred, this devilish assault. Vote to remove these heinous acts and relax your minds; remove this weight from your chests.

We have heard the evidence, we have listened to the witnesses; it is now time to decide for ourselves the merits of eighteenth century entertainment. We live in a society that must be regulated, otherwise anarchy would ensue. We live in a time in which criminals must be punished in order to stop the perpetuation of crime. Yes, laws must be regulated and laws must be observed, but we must first protect the innocent members of society from violent crimes. Public execution, as the Defense has shown, serves to deter future criminals and well as remind law-abiding citizens of their meritorious status.

We have also demonstrated how these forms of entertainment have brought communities together; classes into the same arena. The power of the people, of the masses can not be ignored. Together, we stand and learn the message and crime and punishment. We learn together to respect the laws that we must follow. When we feel that other communities or even our own does not provide what we need as individuals, we can meet in guise of football. We have demonstrated how we can utilize that sport to make important stands. We believe we have shown how these sports demonstrate fair play. Yes, the prosecution might have argued that violence is involved, but only within the boundaries of rules and regulations. The amount of men who lose their lives from these sports must be small as we have only seen one occurence in all our research.

For those that call the deaths of cocks and bulls are wasteful, they do not understand. These animals are in surplus so there is no waste being perpetrated. Most importantly, we have provided the evidence that the sports can prolong the life of the animal. Since they are able to earn money, the likelihood of, at an early age, being brought to the butcher to be eaten goes down. The importance that society places on the lives of these fighting animals allows them to live longer than animals that do not entertain.

The prosecution clearly neglects the importance of tradition. We as British people are proud of our past and the customs of our people. These sports are part of that history. We have provided much evidence to point to this important cultural phenomenon. Cock fighting demonstrates gallantry and honor; ideals which we in this society are continuing to lose sight of. We need to our attention to ideals; the ideals of champions, of heroes, of men who do not give up and simply die. These bulls, bears, dogs, and cocks demonstrate what champions are made of. The fierce boxer who defeats his opponent demonstrates what heart is, the football player that scores the winning goal serves as ideal of perseverance, and the champion stick fighter shows what the importance of skill is to the many young children of this country. We enjoy our sports because they provide exemplary examples to our society. Why should we remove part of our passions? Members of the jury, you must decide if want models to be put for your children, yourself? Do you want to remove the only form of leisure and relaxation for many citizens? Do you want to take away sport from England? Speaking on behalf of many concerned men, women, and children, I / WE hope not.

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