Cockfighting, a blood sport in which roosters are placed in a ring and forced to battle to the death for the “amusement” of spectators, is illegal throughout the United States.
Cockfighting is more than just a competition between individual cocks. However, due to technological advancements and the widespread use of the internet, it has grown into a massive industry. Every year, new versions of WPC are released, such as wpit18, “Put to the Test with Steel.”
“Game farms” are places where roosters are born, raised, and trained for combat. The breeders (also known as “cockers”) kill the birds they consider to be of lower quality, and the breeders only keep the birds that are game, and the breeders only keep game birds, which means they are willing to fight. Many of these birds spend the majority of their lives attached by one leg to inadequate shelter, such as a plastic barrel or a small cage. Breeders “train” the birds to fight by subjecting them to strenuous physical labour, such as attaching weights or blades to their legs for “practise bouts” with other roosters. Cockfighters call this procedure “tried with steel.”
Breeders frequently remove the feathers from the birds and cut the wattles and/or combs (the flesh at the top of the roosters’ heads and under their beaks) off the male roosters to prevent competition male roosters from ripping them off during the competition. Roosters lack sweat glands, so if they lost any of these anatomical components, they would be unable to regulate their body temperature. Some “cockers” remove the spurs from the birds’ legs, which are natural bony protrusions, so that artificial weapons that are far more lethal can be attached to the birds’ legs. Law enforcement officers have discovered performance-enhancing drugs during their investigations.
What Happens Inside Cockfights
Cockfights are typically held inside circular or square arenas known as “cockpits” or simply “pits.” One observer described a fight as follows: “The birds jump and parry at each other, their neck feathers fanning and their wings spinning.” They kick and duel each other in the air, hitting each other with their feet and beaks.
Handlers pick up the birds and blow on their backs, yank at their beaks, or hold them beak-to-beak in an attempt to rouse the birds. This is done in case the fighting starts to slow down. The birds are then thrown back into the pits, and the fighting resumes.
until one of the roosters is either dead or near death. Even if they are still alive, “losing” birds are usually thrown away in a barrel or dustbin near the gaming pit.
The Connections to the Criminal World
Cockfighting, in addition to being cruel to animals, is frequently associated with other illegal activities such as gambling, robbery, drug use or sale, and even murder; for example, three people were killed during a cockfight in Texas. Children are frequently present at cockfights, and their exposure to such brutality can result in a decreased sensitivity to suffering as well as an increased interest in gore and violence.
“If you have a covert operation going on somewhere with money involved, you’re going to have people of questionable morality show up and try to peddle their wares, like some dope or something,” the man explained. “You will have to deal with them.” Sometimes you’ll hear about masked men coming in with guns and robbing people because they know no one will call the cops on them.
Disease Poses a Risk
International health experts, including the World Health Organization, have linked cockfighting to the transmission of the highly lethal bird flu virus from birds to humans via contact with blood and faeces. This occurs when humans come into direct contact with infected birds.
According to a Washington Post article, at one cockfight, the owners of the birds “scrubbed the blood off their birds with bare hands… The wounds around their eyes were then sewn up, and “occasionally… the injuries are so severe that owners reduce the swelling by sucking out the blood by mouth,” according to the report.
What Steps Can You Take?
If you have reason to believe that this type of illegal behaviour is occurring in your community, please contact the authorities.