Since the first modern Olympic Games in 1896, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has taken many steps to rid the games of sports that were harmful to animals. Luckily, the only Olympic event that still exists today that involves animals is equestrian which is heavily regulated. Let’s take a trip down memory lane—or rather history to discover the animal sports that have since been banned.
Live Pigeon Shooting
This event was one of many at the 1900 Paris Games that only lasted a year and with good reason, we think! Instead of clay pigeon shooting, the organisers chose real pigeons to compete with that year.
The participants were to shoot as many birds as possible. The official report of the Games described this sport as “extremely aristocratic.” The event is the first and last time animals were intentionally killed in an Olympic event. Six birds were released at a distance of 27 metres from the participant. After missing two birds, the participant was eliminated. The competitor who shot down the most birds from the sky was declared the winner. Almost 300 birds lost their lives at the event.
Animals or Were They?
Between 1908 and 1948, the programme featured what sounded like an animal shooting event. The “deer” in the running deer shooting event, on the other hand, were deer-shaped targets. Similarly, between 1900 and 1920, popinjay or pole archery events involved shooting arrows at artificial birds suspended from a large pole on cross beams.
Chariot races and horse races were once part of the Ancient Olympic programme, and animal sacrifice was frequently a part of the ceremonies surrounding the events.
The ancient Olympic Games were a series of athletic competitions between city-state representatives and one of Ancient Greece’s Panhellenic Games. During the Greek period, they were held in Zeus’ honour, and they were associated with mythological origins.