New York Knicks guard Stephon Marbury defended Michael Vick and said today that he believes that dogfighting is a sport.
Well, I suppose that you can call anything a 'sport,' no matter how barbaric it is, even dwarf-tossing or Russian roulette.
If it's a sport, it's a sport that is illegal in all fifty states. There is a reason why it is. It's because in a civilized society we've come to a collective decision that people should look elsewhere for entertainment than in watching animals maul, cripple and kill one another for 'sport.'
Marbury tries to compare it to 'people who shoot deer.' But there are some big differences. Let's enumerate some of them:
1. The goal of a hunter is to kill a deer as quickly and efficiently as possible, minimizing the amount of suffering involved. In dogfighting, the goal is to produce death, but it is rarely quick or painless, and even the winning dog will sustain a a great deal of pain. In fact, if dog fights ended quickly, there wouldn't be as much money bet on them and they likely wouldn't be as popular. However, deer hunting isn't a 'sport' in which the agony is prolonged for the purpose of making money.
2. Most (though not all) deer hunters eat what they shoot. In this sense, deer hunting is no different than eating a steak that was killed in a slaughterhouse. As far as I know, Michael Vick never had a Pit Bull cutlet for dinner.
3. Thanks to the boneheaded predator policies of the nineteenth century, most areas where deer live no longer have enough (or any) large predators that eat deer. Therefore they multiply to the point where they are both a threat to the ecosystem at large and a threat to themselves and if the population were left unchecked they would eat their food supply and many would die of starvation. State game and fish departments monitor the deer population and use hunting as a tool to manage the deer population. It is also much more cost effective to sell hunting licenses to people who want to help them manage the deer population than it would be otherwise to have to pay professional hunters to do the same. It is true that there is also an overpopulation of dogs (many adoptable dogs are put in shelters and have to be euthanized because of lack of homes to place them in) but dogfighting aficionados actually contribute to the overpopulation of dogs as they breed many pit bulls and other varieties of dogs which because of their upbringing are unadoptible and either abandon them or have them seized by authorities. In fact, we saw an article just the other day in the Washington Post about how A North Carolina shelther will have to euthanize adoptable dogs because a judge has ordered them to use their space to house pit bulls seized in raids on dogfighting operations. Point made
Marbury is free to voice his opinion but it is a fact that societies can make laws which they believe are in the public interest, and this law has been enacted. There are certainly laws which have been enacted which I believe society should consider getting rid of (an example being federal laws against marijuana use) but I don't consider marijuana use to be a form of recreation because the law is very clear that it isn't.
If Marbury wants the law changed, then he should lobby to get it changed. Good luck with that, given the obvious contempt that most people have shown for what Vick did. But until then, anyone who is convicted of involvement in dogfighting will face the consequences of the law. As they should.