I didn't hear until this morning that Michael Vick [star quarterback of Atlanta Falcons, for the sports-impaired] was indicted by a federal grand jury on multiple counts relating to a dog-fighting ring. The allegations are startling so beware, animal lovers, of reading the details. Not to sure I want to get into this too much but I was thinking whether or not this indictment would've happened twenty years ago. I really don't think so. First, advances in technology yielded a powerful combination: video+internet. Videos are shared virally so what once took place in the secrecy of your own home can now be known the world over in days. When people see first-hand this cruelty that was only rumor, opinions are altered.
But the biggest change in our society leading to the indictment of these acts has been the emergence of animal rights. I'm not sure that PETA can take credit for this [their campaigns get crazier all the time]. Rather, it's a combination of people seeking non-human companionship more as well as an industry that's tailored to take advantage of it. Americans spend $40billion+ per year on their pets. And considering over 60% of US households own a pet, you'd be better of robbing a bank than harming on animal.
Twenty years ago, Michael Vick walks free because no one knows about this. Today, however, he could conceivably lose his job and do considerable jail time.