Decline of Bull-Baiting

Bull-Baiting, which drew more controversial attention than any of the other blood sports, may have already been in decline by around 1800, at least in certain parts of the country. A sporting magazine expressed that the custom of bull-baiting has of late years been almost laid aside in the north of England which took place in 1793. In Lincoln it was said in 1789 to also be in a dwindling state. In Nottingham and at Hornsed in the East Riding bull-baiting seems to have died out by the beginning of the nineteenth century. The reasons for this apparent decline are not at all clear. There is little evidence of outright suppressions of bull-baiting during the eighteenth century. Perhaps the growing hostility of the genteel opinion discouraged its survival in areas where the authority of such views could not be easily ignored. The sport was particularly dependent on some form of outside assistance- patronage, sponsorship, or promotion- and it is likely that such assistance was increasingly difficult to obtain. Also by the late eighteenth century butchers were no longer providing bulls for baiting, as they had done in the past. Many publicans became reluctant to act as promoters because such involvement might put their licenses in jeopardy. This just declined the sport a little bit, but it is stated that it still was played 40 years into the nineteenth century. The persistence of bull-baiting(along with other blood sports) was a cause of considerable concern in a respectable society, especially among the increasingly influential Evangelicals, and this concern was frequently voiced during the first third of the century in the political arena. Bills against bull-baiting were introduced in 1800 and 1802 both were defeated by narrow margins. Finally, in 1835, a Cruelty to Animals Act unequivocally established the illegality of all blood sports which involved the baiting of animals14.


 Decline of Cock-fighting


The sport of cock-fighting was able to withstand the constant criticism of the mid-nineteenth century. It continued because of its support by gentlemen and the secret competitions held in the country. It would not be until the Victorian Age, when most gentlemen's involvement with the the sport had waned and commoners took over, that cock-fighting would be heavily persecuted 15. Today, cock-fighting is illegal in the United States, however, cocks are still being bred and used in competitions worldwide.

Decline of Prize-fighting

Prize-fighting did not truly decline. It split into modern day wrestling and boxing. Regulations and procedures were added, which changed its style, but it is pretty much the same sport. It changed from a savage spontaneous way of handling disputes to a commercial organized sporting event.


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