The Gruesome Blood Sports Of Shakespearean England

You know those crazy pit fights you see in the movies where a bear is forced to battle a pack of dogs in the arena for the amusement of a bloodthirsty crowd?

Those sick shows were extremely popular in England back in Shakespeare's day, and all manner of fearsome creatures were forced to fight in a spectacle that seems revoltingly barbaric to anyone who cares about animals.

They called it "baiting", and the gruesome blood sport most commonly involved bears and bulls battling other animals to the death in a theater setting, one of the most popular nicknamed "Bear Gardens".

Baiting was so popular in the 16th and 17th century that Queen Elizabeth I and other royals could be seen in the crowds, and even though it fell out of popularity by the 1700s baiting wasn't banned in England until 1835.

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