Other than the animals depicted as Olympic Games mascots, the only current Olympic events that involve animals are the equestrian events (and the equestrian part of modern pentathlon). However, this has not always been the case.
In the Ancient Olympics, chariot races and horse racing were once part of the program, and animal sacrifice was often a component of the ceremonies surrounding the events.
In modern times, a shooting event called live pigeon shooting was held in 1900. The objective of this event was to shoot and kill as many birds as possible. This was the first and only time in Olympic history when animals were killed on purpose. In 1988 birds were again killed at the Olympics, but accidentally this time. At the opening ceremony a flock of doves was released into the stadium and unfortunately as the cauldron was lit some of the birds were burned to death.
Sounds Like Animals
What sounded like an animal shooting event was on the program between 1908 till 1948. In the running deer shooting event, however, the "deer' in this case were targets in the shape of deer. Similarly, iIn 1900 and 1920, the popinjay or pole archery events involve shooting arrows at artificial birds that were placed on cross beams suspended from a large pole.
- Equestrian at the Olympics, also Modern Pentathlon
- Animal involvement at the Winter Olympics
- Live Pigeon Shooting in 1900
- Pole archery in 1900 and 1920
- Unusual Sports With Animal Cruelty
- About Blood Sports