As an annual event at the Market Village Shopping Mall in collaboration with the Hua Hin Pitbulls Club, ‘Pitbulls & Bullies’ was a gathering of people from all over the country who love pitbulls and bully breeds.
The event featured a ‘beautiful dog’ contest and was an opportunity for the public to understand more about these often misunderstood dog breeds; however the inclusion of a weight pulling contest has led to some controversy.
The Thailand Pitbull Kennel Club presented the Weight Pulling Championship with some very muscular harnessed dogs straining to pull a weighted sled along a platform. A video showed a contestant in the event being either unwilling or unable to comply with a trainer urging the dog to continue in this contest of strength and endurance. The dog then shows signs of distress as it tries to leave the platform.
Viewers of the video have been almost universal in their condemnation with comments such as “cruel”, “disgusting”, “stupid” or “shocking”, adding “where are the animal welfare inspectors and how can this be allowed?” and “authorities must investigate this.” Similar comments were also made on the Hua Hin Market Village Facebook Page.
Here’s the video:
Perhaps a more balanced comment was provided by a local stray dog rescue coordinator who said:
“Events like these are quite tricky I’m afraid. In past instances where we’ve spoken out against the practice of withholding water from the animals all day for the sake of keeping enclosures unsoiled, we found there’s only so much that can be done on the day. As concerning as it may be, unless there’s concrete proof of animal abuse, the show will go on undeterred.
The difficulty with these events comes down to differing opinions on what’s seen to be entertainment vs exploitation/ abuse. It’s a societal issue insofar as what is commonly deemed socially acceptable, and what not – not unlike elephant riding, proof that change is possible.
So long as it attracts an audience from which the shopping mall derives a benefit, so does the incentive to continue hosting such shows.
While societal change might be a slower process, it’s first & foremost driven by discussion – so I say YAY for posts like these, it’s important to fuel the conversation.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: Sports involving domesticated animals such as horse or dog racing, or the more combative bull or cock fighting are coming under increasing pressure to be abandoned worldwide. They have become unacceptable especially if severe or fatal injuries or other animal welfare issues are prominent. Using wildlife for entertainment is even more unacceptable.
Without evidence of cruelty or abuse, events such as the Pitbull Weight Pulling Contest may not reach that level of concern. However as a public spectacle at a city shopping mall, this event may not portray an appropriate image for Hua Hin.