Bear-baiting

Bear-baiting is a blood sport involving the baiting of bears.

Bear-baiting in England

Bear-baiting was popular in England until the nineteenth century. From the sixteenth century, many herds of bears were maintained for baiting. In its best-known form, arenas for this purpose were called bear-gardens, consisting of a circular high fenced area, the "pit", and raised seating for spectators. A post would be set in the ground towards the edge of the pit and the bear chained to it, either by the leg or neck. A number of well-trained hunting dogs would then be set on it, being replaced as they tired or were wounded or killed. For a long time, the main bear-garden in London was the Paris Garden at Southwark.

Henry VIII was a fan and had a pit constructed at Whitehall. Elizabeth I was also fond of the entertainment; it featured regularly in her tours. When an attempt was made to ban baiting on Sundays, she overruled Parliament. Robert Laneham’s letter describes the spectacle presented by Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester presented at Kenilworth Castle in 1575 :

blockquote|Thursday, the fourteenth of July, and the sixth day of her Majesty’s coming, a great sort of bandogs [mastiff] were then tied in the outer court and thirteen bears in the inner . . .

Well, sir, the bears were brought forth into the court, the dogs set to them, to argue the points even face to face. They had learned counsel also on both parts, what may they be counted partial that are retained but to one side ? I know not. Very fierce, both one and the other, and eager in argument. If the dog in pleading would pluck the bear by the throat, the bear with traverse would claw him again by the scalp, confess and a list, but avoid it could not that was bound to the bar, and his counsel told him that it could be to him no policy in pleading.

Therefore, with fending & proving, with plucking and tugging, scratching and biting, by plain tooth and nail on one side and the other, such expense of blood and leather [skin] was there between them, as a months licking (I think) will not recover, and yet remain as far out as ever they were.

It was a sport very pleasant, of these beasts, to see the bear with his pink eyes leering after his enemies approach, the nimbleness and wayt [watch] of the dog to take his advantage, and the force and experience of the bear again to avoid the assaults. If he were bitten in one place, how he would pinch in another to get free, that if he were taken once, then what shift, with biting, with clawing, with roaring, tossing and tumbling, he would work to wind himself free from them. And when he was loose, to shake his ears twice or thrice with the blood and the slather about his physiognomy, was a matter of goodly relief. [quoted in Ribton-Turner, C. J. 1887 "Vagrants and Vagrancy and Beggars and Begging", London, 1887, p.111]

A variation involved other animals being baited, especially bulls, but also, on one curious occasion, a pony with an ape tied to its back was baited: a spectator described that "...with the screaming of the ape, beholding the curs hanging from the ears and neck of the pony, is very laughable". [cite encyclopedia
title = Bear-baiting
encyclopedia = Encyclopaedia Britannica
volume = 3
pages = 575
publisher = Encyclopaedia Britannica Company
date = 1910
url = http://books.google.com/books?pg=PA575&lpg=PA575&dq=beholding+the+curs+hanging&sig=gz1WvJs-GYeKUpT8f1z64IoGYHc&id=AvanjGny7mcC&ots=kRGKtAZokB&output=html
accessdate = 2007-02-15
] Attempts to end the entertainment were first made in England by the Puritans, with little effect. The deaths of a number of spectators, when a stand collapsed at the Paris Gardens on January 12 1583 was viewed by early Puritans as a sign of God's anger, though not primarily because of the cruelty but because the bear-baiting was taking place on a Sunday. [- cite book | last = Field | first = John | authorlink = | coauthors = | year = 1583 | title = A Godly exhortation . . . showed at Paris Garden | publisher = Robert Waldegrave | location = | id = ]

By the late 17th century "the conscience of cultivated people seems to have been touched",Fact|date=January 2007 but it was not until 1835 that baiting was prohibited by Parliament, Cruelty to Animals Act 1835 was soon extended across the Empire. Bear baiting's last known occurrence was in the small town of Knottingley.

Bull baiting was a contest which was similar to bear baiting in which the bear was chained to a stake by one hind leg or by the neck and worried by dogs. The whipping of a blinded bear was another variation of bear-baiting. [http://elizabethan-era.org.uk/elizabethan-bear-bull-baiting.htm (visited 4th June, 2008) ]

Bear baiting in Pakistan

Bear baiting still occurs in the Punjab and Sindh provinces of Pakistan, although it has declined considerably overall since 2004. [See Fakhar-I-Abbas (2007) [http://pbrc.edu.pk/BIERZS2007ProgramandProceedings.pdf Baiting and Sanctuary Maintenance of Bears in Pakistan: a status Report] in "BIERZ 2007: Bear Information Exchange for Rehabilitators, Zoos & Sanctuaries", accessed 6 August 2008] The events are organised predominantly by local landlords who own the fighting dogs used; the dogs are usually a cross breed [ [http://www.terriercentral.com/front.html Website on origin of terriers used in bear baiting] , accessed 6 August 2008] similar to Pit Bull terriers.

During the event the bear will be tethered to a rope 2–5 metres long in the centre of an arena to prevent escape. [Joseph, J. (1997) ‘Rules of the game’ in "Bear Baiting in Pakistan", WSPA: London] Bears’ canine teeth are often removed and their claws may be filed down giving them less advantage over the dogs. Each fight lasts around three minutes. If the dogs pull the bear to the ground they are said to win the fight. Bears usually have to undergo several fights during each day’s event. Despite receiving serious injuries, bears and dogs rarely suffer fatal wounds, forcing the animals to endure lifelong suffering.

Bears are illegally sourced by poaching. Asiatic black bears and brown bears are known to be poached in Pakistan [Nawaz, M.A. (2007) [http://www.bioone.org/perlserv/?request=get-document&doi=10.2192%2F1537-6176(2007)18%5B89%3ASOTBBI%5D2.0.CO%3B2 Status of the brown bear in Pakistan] , "Ursus", [online] , 18:1, accessed 6 August 2008] and used in bear baiting. [ [http://www.wspa-international.org/latestnews/2008/local_network_success.aspx Four bears saved in local network success] (9 July 2007), WSPA website, accessed 6 August 2008] Asiatic black bears are listed as vulnerable on the World Conservation Union's (IUCN's) Red List of Threatened Animals. [ [http://www.iucnredlist.org/search/details.php/22824/all Asiatic black bears entry] on IUCN website, accessed 6 August 2008] The capture of bear cubs is prohibited across three provinces of Pakistan by: the North West Frontier Province Conservation and Management Act (1975); [See Points 1 and 5 of the Third Schedule of [http://faolex.fao.org/docs/pdf/pak67233.pdf the Act] , from Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations legal website, accessed 6 August 2008] the Punjab Wildlife Protection, Preservation, Conservation and Management Act (1974); [See Mammals in category 1 of [http://punjablaws.gov.pk/laws/290.htm the Act] (those protected throughout the year), accessed 6 August 2008] and the Sindh Wildlife Protection Ordinance (1972). [See Point 1 of the Second Schedule of [http://www.sindhwildlife.com.pk/aboutus/ordinance.htm the Ordinance] , accessed 6 August 2008]

Bear baiting was banned in Pakistan by the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (1890). [See 3(a) and 6B(6) of [http://faolex.fao.org/docs/pdf/pak64057.pdf the Act] , from Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations legal website, accessed 6 August 2008] Pakistan’s wildlife authorities are working with animal welfare groups to eradicate the events, with some success. [ [http://www.wspa-international.org/latestnews/2008/local_network_success.aspx Four bears saved in local network success] (9 July 2007), WSPA website, accessed 6 August 2008] [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/4558165.stm Pakistan halts bear-baiting event] (18 May 2005), BBC News website, accessed 6 August 2008]

Baiting animals is outlawed in the Quran. [Susan J. Armstrong, Richard G. Botzler, "The Animal Ethics Reader", p.237, Routledge (UK) Press] [ [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam_and_animals#Treatment_of_animals Islam and animals: treatment of animals] , Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia accessed 6 August 2008] The Bioresource Research Centre, a Pakistani wildlife group working to end bear baiting, use this to encourage mosques in areas where baiting occurs to add an anti-cruelty message to their Friday Khutbba (sermon). [ [http://www.pbrc.edu.pk/religious.htm Religious based awareness] , BRC website, accessed 6 August 2008]

Kund Park Sanctuary [ [http://www.pbrc.edu.pk/sanctuaryy.htm Kund Bear Sanctuary] , BRC website, accessed 6 August 2008] in Kund, North-West Frontier Province, was opened in 2001 by the World Society for the Protection of Animals [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/1100555.stm Pakistan's baited bears wait for rescue] (4 January 2001), BBC News website, accessed 6 August 2008] to provide a home for bears confiscated by the wildlife authorities and NGOs working to eradicate bear baiting in Pakistan.

Other uses

The term may be also used for the hunting practice of luring a bear with bait to an arranged killing spot. The hunter places an amount of food, such as raw meat or sweets, every day at a given spot until the hunter notices the food is being taken each day, accompanied by bear tracks. He then chooses a day to await the bear, killing it when it arrives to feed. Such Bear baiting is legal in many states in the United States, with the Humane Society reporting that "Bear baiting is banned in 18 of the 27 states that allow bear hunting. It persists . . . in Alaska, Idaho, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Utah, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. For instance, in Wisconsin in 2002, hunters killed 2,415 bears; those using bait accounted for 1,720 of the kills. In Maine, hunters killed a staggering 3,903 bears in 2001, and baiters took 3,173 of the animals." [ [http://www.hsus.org/hunt/news/bear_baiting_on_federal_lands_united_states.html "Bear baiting on federal lands" Humane Society Date accessed 8 October 2007] ]

Because the practice is time consuming and disrupts a person's daily schedule, the term "bear baiting" is sometimes used in Alaska to mean "screwing off," for example if a person is late for work or misses an appointment.Fact|date=January 2008

ee also

*Animal-baiting
*Beargarden
*
*Cockfight
*Congleton, an English town notorious for its bear-baiting.
*Hope Theatre
*List of dog fighting breeds

External links

* [http://www.pbs.org/shakespeare/glossary/glossary208.html PBS' Shakespeare on Bear baiting]
* [http://books.google.co.uk/books?ct=result&id=6-E8AAAAIAAJ&jtp=489 "The Old Bear Garden at Bankside, Southwark] , an interesting article on bear baiting in London, from "The Every-day Book and Table Book; or, Everlasting Calendar of Popular Amusements, Sports, Pastimes, Ceremonies, Manners, Customs, and Events, Each of the Three Hundred and Sixty-Five Days, in Past and Present Times; Forming a Complete History of the Year, Months, and Seasons, and a Perpetual Key to the Almanac, Including Accounts of the Weather, Rules for Health and Conduct, Remarkable and Important Anecdotes, Facts, and Notices, in Chronology, Antiquities, Topography, Biography, Natural History, Art, Science, and General Literature; Derived from the Most Authentic Sources, and Valuable Original Communication, with Poetical Elucidations, for Daily Use and Diversion. Vol III.", ed. William Hone, (London: 1838) p 489-98. Retrieved on 2008-06-20.
* [http://www.wspa-international.org/wspaswork/bears/bearbaiting/default.aspx WSPA on bear baiting]
* [http://www.pbrc.edu.pk/bearbaiting.htm Bioresource Research Centre on bear baiting]
* [http://www.infohub.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7466 Info Hub specialty travel guide on bears of Pakistan]

References


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Bear baiting — Bear Bear (b[^a]r), n. [OE. bere, AS. bera; akin to D. beer, OHG. bero, pero, G. b[ a]r, Icel. & Sw. bj[ o]rn, and possibly to L. fera wild beast, Gr. fh r beast, Skr. bhalla bear.] [1913 Webster] 1. (Zo[ o]l.) Any species of the genus {Ursus},… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • bear-baiting — bearˈ baiting noun The former sport of setting dogs to attack a bear • • • Main Entry: ↑bear …   Useful english dictionary

  • bear-baiting — noun historical a form of entertainment which involved setting dogs to attack a captive bear …   English new terms dictionary

  • bear-baiting — /ˈbɛə beɪtɪŋ/ (say bair bayting) noun (formerly) the practice of setting dogs to fight a captive bear as entertainment …   Australian English dictionary

  • Bear- und Bullbaiting — war eine Form des Tierkampfes, bei der Kampfhunde auf Bären, Stiere und andere Tiere gehetzt werden. Im 16. und 17. Jahrhundert wurde es als theatrale Unterhaltungsform in England durchgeführt, für die eigens Bauten erstellt wurden, die als… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Bear — (b[^a]r), n. [OE. bere, AS. bera; akin to D. beer, OHG. bero, pero, G. b[ a]r, Icel. & Sw. bj[ o]rn, and possibly to L. fera wild beast, Gr. fh r beast, Skr. bhalla bear.] [1913 Webster] 1. (Zo[ o]l.) Any species of the genus {Ursus}, and of the… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Bear caterpillar — Bear Bear (b[^a]r), n. [OE. bere, AS. bera; akin to D. beer, OHG. bero, pero, G. b[ a]r, Icel. & Sw. bj[ o]rn, and possibly to L. fera wild beast, Gr. fh r beast, Skr. bhalla bear.] [1913 Webster] 1. (Zo[ o]l.) Any species of the genus {Ursus},… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Bear garden — Bear Bear (b[^a]r), n. [OE. bere, AS. bera; akin to D. beer, OHG. bero, pero, G. b[ a]r, Icel. & Sw. bj[ o]rn, and possibly to L. fera wild beast, Gr. fh r beast, Skr. bhalla bear.] [1913 Webster] 1. (Zo[ o]l.) Any species of the genus {Ursus},… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Bear leader — Bear Bear (b[^a]r), n. [OE. bere, AS. bera; akin to D. beer, OHG. bero, pero, G. b[ a]r, Icel. & Sw. bj[ o]rn, and possibly to L. fera wild beast, Gr. fh r beast, Skr. bhalla bear.] [1913 Webster] 1. (Zo[ o]l.) Any species of the genus {Ursus},… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • bear — bear; bear·a·ble; bear·baiting; bear·bine; bear·ish; bear·skin; bear·ward; bug·bear; cud·bear; for·bear·ance; for·bear·ant; for·bear·er; for·bear·ing·ly; for·bear·ing·ness; fore·bear; over·bear·ance; over·bear·ing·ly; bear·er; bear·ing; for·bear; …   English syllables

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