Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Bizarre Sport of Goose Pulling

Goose pulling is an old sport originally played in parts of the Netherlands, Belgium, England and North America from the 17th to the 19th centuries. The sport involves a goose that is hung by its legs from a pole or rope that is stretched across a road. A man riding on horseback at a full gallop would attempt to grab the bird by the neck in order to pull the head off. Whoever makes off with the head is declared winner and becomes the noble hero of the day. Goose pulling is still practiced today, in parts of Belgium and in Grevenbicht in the Netherlands as part of Shrove Tuesday and in some towns in Germany as part of the Shrove Monday celebrations.

During the old days a live goose was used. To make the sport challenging, the goose's neck was generously oiled to make it difficult to retain a grip on it, and the bird's constant fluttering and flailing made it difficult to target it in the first place. Sometimes "a nigger” with a long whip in hand was stationed near the target who would harass the horse as he passed by.


The prizes of a goose-pulling contest were trivial – often the dead bird itself, other times contributions from the audience or rounds of drinks. The main draw of such contests for the spectators was the betting on the competitors, sometimes for money or more often for alcoholic drinks.

Today, instead of live geese, dead ones are used, but that doesn’t make the sport any less brutal. Even during the old days when animal brutality were common, goose pulling was often frowned upon and sometimes compared to the barbarous practice of bull-fighting.

Goose pulling largely died out in the United States after the Civil War, though it was still occasionally practiced in parts of the South as late as the 1870s. However, in Grevenbicht in the Netherlands and in parts of Belgium and Germany, goose pulling – using a dead goose that has been humanely killed by a veterinarian – continues to this day as part of traditional Shrove Tuesday celebrations. It is referred to as Ganstrekken in the Netherlands, Gansrijden in Belgium and Gänsereiten in Germany. Although the use of live geese was banned in the 1920s, the practice still arouses some controversy. In 2008 the Dutch Party for Animals (PvdD) proposed that it should be banned. The organizers rejected the proposal, pointing out that there was no question of cruelty to animals because the geese were already dead.

Belgian goose pulling is accompanied by an elaborate set of customs. The rider who succeeds in pulling off the goose's head is "crowned" as the "king" for one year and given a crown and mantle. At the end of his "king year" the ruling king has to treat his "subjects" to a feast of beer, drinks, cigars and bread pudding or sausages held either at his home or at a local pub. The kings compete with each other to become the "emperor".


Goose pulling in 19th-century West Virginia


Goose pulling in Belgium. Photo credit


Goose pulling in Antwerp, Belgium. Photo credit


Goose pulling in Grevenbicht, the Netherland.







Source: Wikipedia. Photos:


  1. Humans are the waste of planet earth. Period. Could you find nothing else of interest than this garbage, and you just had to include the dreaded "N" word.

    1. Absolutely True , i am having an increasing notion of we ( So called Humans ) are the only dumb non intelligent life on earth absolute waste of space , our presence is contiously polluting the planet / nature.( Just because we can talk , move on two legs , wear cloths we shouldn't consider our selves to be the most intelligent living on earth ) ,( squids , Octopus , elephants , ants .. all these have sense emotion can communicate ( just that we don't understand ) and are adaptable.

  2. this is sport?...right word is killing!

  3. We ARE barbarians. And in countries with things like this, there's less violent crime and violence in general than in America. Even organized sports don't do it, as the riled up crowds starting riots afterwards show. We need to seriously admit it and find alternatives that work but hurt the participants instead of animals. Denying and attempting to control human nature with laws is a purely American problem and the results are deadly.

  4. Since you hate America so much why don't you go live in Iran or North Korea?

    1. At least you wouldn't be surrounded by constant stupidity and ignorance. And fat ugly people.

    2. i from noth korea and prefer to USA are you fat?

  5. This is awful!!!!!!

  6. its already DEAD !!!!

  7. michael vick for dog fighting??? smmfh!!

  8. If the goose is dead, why do they wrap it's mouth up? Just curious.

    1. So the barbaric human doesn't injure his hand from the beak.

  9. I am ashamed and disgusted at my own species.

  10. This isnt that bad the way the link described it I thought it was awful.


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