Cockfights cruel, deadly for birds; time to ban them
The death of a Filipino police officer who was slashed by a fighting cock’s spur while trying to break up a cockfight is a wake-up call. We were very sorry to learn of the officer’s death, but we would like to point out that for the birds, this pastime is almost always deadly.
The blade that cut the officer is standard in this bloodsport. Strapped to the birds’ feet, razor-sharp gaffs tear through flesh and bone, inflicting agonizing and sometimes fatal injuries. Roosters sustain broken wings and legs, punctured lungs, severed spinal cords, and gouged-out eyes.
Before a fight, the feathers of many birds are plucked, and their combs and/or wattles (the flesh at the top of the head and under the beak, respectively) are painfully cut off, usually with scissors—all so that their “opponent” can’t tear themoff in the ring. When not fighting for their lives, most of these birds spend their lives tethered by one leg to overturned wooden baskets or confined to small wire cages.
In their natural habitat, birds may fight over mates or to establish their position in a flock’s pecking order, but they rarely fight to the death, because the weaker one generally flees. In cockfights, there is no escape.
The world has evolved, and times are changing rapidly. It’s time for the Philippines to relegate cruel cockfighting to the history books.
Director of Animal Assistance Campaigns
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals Asia
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