COCK FIGHTING

The practice of cock fighting, though illegal, is a tradition going back several centuries, and thus difficult to stamp out. Cock fights, like other illegal animal fights, take place surreptitiously.

Cock fights usually result in the death of one, if not both roosters. Handlers place two roosters in a pit. These roosters, armed with sharp steel projections called gaffs, then proceed to peck and maim one another with their beaks and with the weapons that have been imposed upon them. The pit allows roosters no opportunity to escape. Although they have been bred to fight, the animals often become tired, incapable, and suffer severe injuries.

Spectators viewing the fights bet large sums of money. The handler of a winning rooster often makes a big profit. Handlers sometimes give roosters steroids or methamphetamine to make them fight harder and faster.

Although birds in a flock will often fight over pecking order, these battles rarely result in injury. Only birds that have been bred and provoked to fight will inflict the serious injuries seen in cock fighting. Children often witness this cruel spectacle. Because adults bring children to fights as a form of cultural initiation, kids may come away from fights with an insensitivity to violence against animals. Studies have shown that violence against animals is a precursor to violence against humans.

While the United States has a long tradition of cock fighting, as do several Asian cultures, cock fighting should be stopped because of the cruel imposition of violence and death on the animals involved, and for the mental health of children who may attend such fights.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

Always boycott all forms of animal entertainment. Report cock fighting to local, state and federal authorities. Educate others on the issue.