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File:Cockfighting dsc01729.jpg
Training for a cockfight in Hell-Bourg, Réunion

A cockfight is a blood sport between two specially trained roosters held in a ring called a cockpit.

The combatants, known as gamecocks or cocks, are specially bred birds, conditioned for increased stamina and strength. The comb and wattle are cut off in order to facilitate the placement of a hood over the birds' heads to keep them calm prior to the beginning of a fight and to decrease the potential for wounds and bleeding in these fleshy areas. Cocks possess congenital aggression toward all males of the same species, which is amplified through training and conditioning. Wagers are often made on the outcome of the match and other criminal activity such as the sale of illegal drugs may accompany fighting events. While not all fights are to the death, they often may result in the death of both birds. Cockfighting, once considered to be a traditional sporting event in the United States, is now generally recognized as a form of animal cruelty. In many other areas around the world, cockfighting is still practiced as a mainstream event. The movement and transportation of birds in association with fighting events represents a significant risk with regard to public health. A recent outbreak of Newcastle Disease in Southern California, Nevada, and Arizona, which resulted in the depopulation of millions of birds and billions of dollars in damage to the US poultry industry, has been traced back to the congregation of birds at illegal cockfights. The same factors which lead to the spread of Newcastle Disease also create a risk for the transmission of Avian Influenza (Bird Flu).


Regional variations

In some regional variations, the birds are equipped with either gaffs or knives tied to the leg in the area where the bird's natural spur has been partially removed. A cockspur is a bracelet (often made of leather) with a curved, sharp spike which is attached to the leg of the bird. The spikes typically range in length from "short spurs" of just over an inch to "long spurs" almost two and a half inches long. In the highest levels of seventeenth century English cockfighting, the spikes were made of silver. In the "naked heel" variation, the bird's natural spurs are left intact and sharpened: fighting is done without gaffs or taping, especially in India (especially in Tamil Nadu) There it is mostly fought naked heel and either three rounds of twenty minutes with a gap of again twenty minutes or four rounds of fifteen minutes each and a gap of fifteen minutes between them. [1]

Nicaragua, Belgium, Colombia, France, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Italy, Philippines, Peru, Puerto Rico, Canary Islands and Guam have well-established arenas with seats or bleachers for spectators surrounding the ring, similar to a wrestling or boxing arena, and fights may be held all throughout the day. In many countries, the spectacle of cockfighting draws whole families, and in some countries, cockfighting is as popular as baseball and football are in the United States. Among the competitors who raise fighting cocks, there is great pride in the prowess of their birds and in winning a championship.

Legal issues

In many places, cockfights and other animal fights have been outlawed based on opposition to gambling or animal cruelty. It may also be illegal to possess, raise, train, advertise, or trade cocks or accoutrements that could be used for cockfighting. Also, participating in a cockfight in any manner may be illegal: advertising, transporting participants or spectators, placing wagers, hosting an event, etc. It is common for law enforcement to impound property associated with any cockfighting activity <ref>[2]</ref>. Despite the bans, cockfights are long standing traditions which are a part of many nations' cultures across the globe and, thus, cockfighting continues to be legal in some areas.



Cockfighting was banned outright in England and Wales in 1835 and in Scotland in 1895.


Holding cockfights is a crime in France, but there is an exemption under subparagraph 3 of article 521-1 of the French penal code for cockfights and bullfights in locales where an uninterrupted tradition exists for them. Thus, cockfighting is allowed in the Nord-Pas de Calais region, in Metropolitan France where it takes place in a small number of towns including Raimbeaucourt, La Bistade[3] and other villages around Lille.[4] On Réunion Island there are 5 officially authorized gallodromes (i.e. cockfighting arenas).

South/East Asia


Cock fighting is legal and very popular all over Pakistan.

Cockfighting is legal in Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia. [5]


Cockfighting is called "sabong" in Tagalog and is usually held during Sundays and holidays especially in the provinces. In the Philippines, curved blades that extend to as long as three inches are attached to one or both legs of the roosters. The blades are usually made from high quality steel. There are rumored human fatalities from accidental cuts and injuries from these blades while handling the rooster in the cockpits.


Cockfighting (Vetrukkaal seval porr in Tamil which means naked heel cock fight) (Kodi Pandem in Telugu) ( Kori katta in Tulu ) is favourite sport of people living in coastal region of Andhra Pradesh, Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts of Karnataka, India. In Andhra Pradesh, cockfights were the reason for battle of Palnadu. Blades (Bal in Tulu) of three or four inches in length are attached to the cocks' legs. The cocks are then allowed to fight until a winner is decided or one cock is killed this is only for a knockout fight which is widely practised in Andhra Pradesh but in Tamil Nadu it is either three or four rounds which is explained earlier. People watch with intense interest surrounding the cocks. This sometimes leads to spectator deaths due to accidentally being struck by one of the cock's blades may be the one and only case. The sport has gradually become a gambling sport, where bets are laid on cocks.

Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu could almost be said to be the birthplace of this sport because it is mentioned in ancient literature like Manu Needhi Sastiram, Kattu Seval Sastiram, and many more sangam-age literature which are 2000 years old. It is referred to as the favourite past-time for Maravars or the warriors of Tamil Country. It is acknowledged as one of the 64 "arts" widely spoken by the scholars and masterd by the ancestors/scholars of this part of the world. In earlier days they were fighting with the jungle fowl and its varients later, due to the naval expeditions to Java and Malay by the Pandian Rulers the local poultry of that land might have found its way to Tamil Nadu and a new strain/breed started its development in here which later spread to many places such as India. The newer breeds which are known now are The "Reja" (which is a short Variety),"Sonatol","Calcutta Asil","Madras ASil","Kalkatiya" (Aslo known as "Kadhar" synonymous to Black Asils),The Reds (Also known localy as "Yakuth"),The Yellow Variants (Also known as The "Peela" Asil),The Grey is known localy as "Java" and its varients redish grey as "Dummer". Also they have a "henny" variety cock known locally as "Pettai Madhiri" the literal meaning is "it looks like a hen", though this variety is said to have come from "Singala Island", or Sri Lanka.

United States

Cockfighting has a very long tradition in American culture and history. Many of the founding fathers participated in the sport of cockfighting including Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln. First the English and then the Irish brought in their favorite breeds of fighting roosters. These breeds make up most of the modern American breeds. With the influx of immigrants from Central America and Asia, they have each added new forms of cockfighting.

In the United States cockfighting is illegal in Washington, D.C. and all states but Louisiana. It is legal in the U.S. Insular areas of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Guam. Thirty-three states and the District of Columbia have made cockfighting a felony however, in most places, it is legal to possess roosters. It is illegal in 40 states and D.C. to be a spectator at cockfights. Animal welfare activists continue to lobby for a ban on the sport.

Spurs taped and tied onto cocks

In 2006 the United States Virgin Islands passed a bill which outlaws the use of artificial spurs. Thus far the bill has not been enforced.

In 2007 the New Mexico State Legislature passed a ban on cockfighting.

Cockfighting has a higher level of social acceptance in Puerto Rico than in Louisiana. It also has a much larger human population than the Virgin Islands or Guam and pool of fighting cocks. Metal spurs causes a high mortality of birds. With the interstate transport ban Puerto Rico is likely to be the last holdout. The United States Virgin Islands government is trying to move the sport towards Gamecock Boxing.

Newport, Tennessee arrests

On June 11, 2005 a number of law enforcement agents raided a cockfight in Newport, Tennessee [6]. Authorities claim this was one of the largest cockfights in the United States. The agents arrested 144 people, killed over 300 roosters, and confiscated $40,000 in cash. One owner stated he lost 20 chickens valued at $150 each during the raid. The 144 people arrested were booked on charges of being spectators at a cockfight, a misdemeanor. In Tennessee, defendants found guilty of those charges face up to eleven months and twenty-nine days in jail, plus fines up to $2,500 [7].

Cockfighting in Popular Culture

See also


External links

Template:Bloodsportsde:Hahnenkampf es:Pelea de gallos fr:Combat de coqs he:קרב תרנגולים (תחרות) nl:Hanengevecht fi:Kukkotappelu sv:Tuppfäktning vi:Đá gà

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