Cock Fighting

Cock-fighting is an ancient blood sport which is still practised as a mainstream event in many parts of the world. However, it is increasingly subject to heavy regulation and has also been banned in many countries.

Cock-fighting is a blood sport in which two roosters (cocks) are made to fight each other in a ring called a cockpit. Cocks are by their nature very aggressive towards all males of the same species and the birds are specially bred to maximise their stamina and strength for fighting. Spectators often place bets on the outcome of a fight, and many (although not all) cock-fights will result in the death or serious injury of one or more of the participating birds.

What is it?

Cock-fighting is a fight between gamecocks that is arranged as a spectacle. It is considered cruel and a blood sport by animal welfare and animal rights organisations, and is banned in many parts of the world.

What you should know

  • Animal welfare and animal rights organisations oppose cock-fighting on the grounds of animal cruelty, due in some part to the physical trauma the cocks inflict on each other. Many of the birds which take part will die or suffer serious wounds.
  • Cock-fighting is still legal in the Canary Islands, despite being banned throughout most of the rest of Spain.
  • Supporters of cock-fighting sometimes cite cultural and religious significance in support of the continuation of the blood sport.
  • Cock-fighting is illegal in the UK, but is still practised by some members of travelling communities and in parts of the countryside.
  • Wagers are often made on the outcome of cock-fighting matches and huge sums of money will often change hands.
  • In some regional variations of cock-fighting, the birds are equipped with either metal spurs (called gaffs) or knives, which are tied to the leg in the area where the bird’s natural spur has been partially removed.
  • Cock-fighting is common throughout all of Southeast Asia, where it has been implicated in spreading bird flu.

What you can do

  • Do not visit cockfights or any other spectacles involving pitting birds against each other in a battle. Ask your friends and family to do the same.
  • If you encounter any cockfighting in a country where it is banned, report the information to the police (only do this if you feel safe doing so).
  • Contact the League Against Cruel Sports if you have any information about possible illegal cockfighting in the UK. The League’s Wildlife Crimewatch number is 01483 524 264.

Where is this applicable?

Cock-fighting is illegal throughout all states in the United States, Brazil, Australia and most of Europe.

It is legal across many parts of Asia and Latin America, and is widespread and popular in countries including Nicaragua, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, France, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Philippines, Peru, Panama, Puerto Rico, Canary Islands, Saipan, India and Guam.

Links to other organisations for further information

This article was contributed by the League Against Cruel Sports