There are sports that are cruel to humans such as Dwarf Throwing, but more commonly we leave the cruelty to animals. Popular sports that fit the bill include bull fighting and horse racing steeplechase events. In the realm of unusual sports there are some more creative ways to be cruel to animals.
- Thankfully not a part of the Olympic Games anymore, the Live Pigeon Shooting from just the 1900 Games was a short lived sport. The object 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.
- Another sport that no longer includes animals is Pato, the national sport of Argentina. The name Pato literally means duck, and refers to early times when the sport used a live duck inside a basket instead of a ball. The sport is played on horseback, and combines elements from polo and basketball.
- In another national sport, this time in Afghanistan, the cruelty to the animal is done before the event starts. The sport of Buzkashi is a lot like polo, except instead of a ball it is played with a headless goat carcass.
- They say that ferrets like dark warm places, but placing them in someone's trousers for a long period in the sport of Ferret Legging is cruel to both the ferret and the person placing them down their pants.
- There are some 'sports' that are based on two animals fighting. Commonly known ones would be dog and cock fighting. A more unusual variation is Camel Wrestling, which is held legally in Türkiye. The sport involves two bull (male) camels with a female camel on heat nearby. The camels fight it out for the female.
- There is a whole category of 'blood sports' that are thankfully not practiced anymore, but one example which has continued in modified form until this day is Goose Pulling, involving pulling a head off a goose, now done with a dead goose.
- There is a Japanese horse race called Ban'ei which requires a draft horse to pull a weighted sled through sand, just watching the horses struggle pulling the sled along the sand and over hills is frustrating and sad. Fortunately is it not very popular and on the way out.
- There are countless Animal Racing Sports, where the animals are cajoled into racing each other, usually for the pleasure of bar patrons, such as Cane Toad Racing, Pig Racing, Cockroach Racing and Yabbie Racing.
- List of unusual sports involving animal races
- About Blood Sports
- animals and the Olympic Games
- Browse the list of nearly 100 unusual sports