Blog: Inside the World of Animal Fighting: A Closer Look

Animal fighting, a cruel and barbaric practice, continues to persist in various parts of the world, including the UK. This article delves into the grim reality of animal fighting, exploring its prevalence, impact, and the efforts being made to combat it.

The Prevalence of Animal Fighting

Animal fighting, which includes activities such as dog fighting, cockfighting, and badger baiting, remains a significant issue.

Despite being illegal, these activities often occur in underground settings, making them difficult to detect and eradicate. Reports indicate that organised crime rings frequently engage in animal fighting, seeing it as a lucrative source of income.

The Cruelty Involved

Animals used in fighting are subjected to extreme cruelty. They are often bred and trained specifically for aggression, enduring harsh and abusive training regimes. During fights, animals suffer severe injuries, and many die from their wounds. The cruelty extends beyond the fights themselves, as these animals are typically kept in deplorable conditions with inadequate food, water, and medical care.

Legal Framework and Enforcement

In the UK, animal fighting is illegal under the Animal Welfare Act 2006. The Act imposes severe penalties on those involved in organising, participating in, or promoting animal fights. Convicted offenders can face up to five years in prison and/or unlimited fines. However, enforcement remains a challenge due to the clandestine nature of these activities​.

The Role of Animal Welfare Organisations

Animal welfare organisations, such as the Animal Welfare Investigations Project (AWIP), play a crucial role in combating animal fighting. Unlike local authorities, AWIP does not have statutory powers but actively investigates offences and brings private criminal prosecutions. These organisations often work closely with the police and other agencies to gather evidence and dismantle animal fighting rings​.

The Impact on Communities

Animal fighting has far-reaching consequences beyond the immediate suffering of the animals involved. It is often linked to other forms of criminal activity, such as drug trafficking and illegal gambling. Communities plagued by animal fighting experience increased violence and lawlessness, impacting the quality of life and safety of residents.

How You Can Help

Combatting animal fighting requires a collective effort. Here are some ways individuals can contribute:

  1. Report Suspicious Activity: If you suspect animal fighting in your area, report it to the authorities or organisations like AWIP.
  2. Support Animal Welfare Organisations: Donations and volunteer work can help these organisations continue their vital work.
  3. Raise Awareness: Educate others about the cruelty of animal fighting and the importance of animal welfare laws.


Animal fighting is a brutal and inhumane practice that continues to persist despite legal prohibitions. Through the combined efforts of law enforcement, animal welfare organisations, and the public, we can work towards eradicating this cruel practice and ensuring a safer and more humane environment for all animals. By staying vigilant and supporting efforts to combat animal fighting, we can make a significant difference in the lives of countless animals.

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Jacob Lloyd Executive Director
Jacob Lloyd is the Executive Director of Animal Welfare Investigations Project. He has experience in conducting covert investigations on organised animal cruelty. He is a Certified Animal Cruelty Investigator through the University of Missouri Law Enforcement Training Institute (LETI) in the United States.