Cockfighting is gamecock farming and sports.
Cockfighting is agriculture and entertainment.
– Gameness til the End
The photos below were added to compliment Virgil’s essay.
Virgil Lewis, ENG 102- E202, 3 March 2013
I am very excited because tonight I will get to show my game fowl at a local club. This will be the first show of the year for me and I can hardly contain my excitement.
As the other handler and I billed our feathered warriors up, the crowd could be heard placing bets with each other. We flushed our warriors and then the referee gave the command to pit them. This is a practice that goes on in small brush pits across America, in out of the way places away from the prying eyes of law enforcement and people who do not understand the cultural and family tradition.
Legalizing cockfighting is the best decision to make for the United States, because it will create jobs and allow immigrants and rural families to keep and practice their cultural and family traditions.
Economic studies have shown that legalized cockfighting can produce millions of dollars. Coto reports, “The business once generated $100 million a year in revenue for government-owned clubs across the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico.” In an article published in The Philippine Daily Inquirer on January 19, 2009, the Philippines, where cockfighting is legal, the business reportedly is responsible for generating an amount equal to 1.25 billion U.S. dollars through game fowl breeding, feed products, and other employment opportunities created by the game fowl industry (Cozad) in the Philippines. Humane Society president Wayne Pacelle has stated himself that “cockfighting is a billion dollar a year industry in the U.S. (Cozad).” Other economic studies have shown that cockfighting when legal in Oklahoma was responsible for bringing in 113 million a year to the state (Cozad). Ellick reports that in “New Mexico where cockfighting once was legal the sport generated 80 million a year, and that profit has fallen in feed stores and hotels in cockfighting strongholds by 70 percent.” Millions of dollars in revenue are being created in small countries where cockfighting is legal, these tax dollars and employment opportunities would be a significant benefit to communities all across the United States.
Money spent in the United States raiding cockfights and game fowl farms could be spent investigating more serious crimes. In an interview with a prosecuting attorney that must remain anonymous he stated, “I have serious crimes such as murder, rape, and assaults to prosecute. I do not have time to prosecute people for letting game cocks do what they naturally do.” Ellick reports one officer stating “We wasted ten thousand dollars on a recent misdemeanor. I’d rather use that for a D.U.I. checkpoint and take twenty people off the road in three hours and save lives over chickens.” With some prosecutors and law enforcement agreeing that their time and money could be better spent on more serious crimes, it seems that state and federal law makers would listen since these are the people dealing with crime on a daily basis, but since these law enforcement officers and prosecutors wish to remain anonymous it will be hard to get law makers to listen to their side. The notion of imprisoning someone for letting a game rooster do what he naturally does seems to be a big waste of time and money. Prisons and jails across the United States are full, and some criminals are already being paroled early to make room for more prisoners should we parole a rapist or murderer early to make room for a cockfighter?
Many immigrants bring the cultural tradition of cockfighting to the United States with them from countries where the sport is legal. Families in rural parts of America also consider it a cultural tradition. As more immigrants from Mexico and other countries where cockfighting is legal pour into the United States, they will bring with them their cultural tradition of cockfighting. Bazar reports, “Law enforcement officials and animal rights groups in places such as Denver, Houston, and Santa Barbara County, California, say they’ve seen a surge.” The cultural tradition of cockfighting was handed down to me from my father, and we spent many hours with friends and competitors enjoying fellowship and making new friends each year. Now do to the prevailing laws of the United States we are forced to not let our birds compete in the great sport of cockfighting. Romero reports, “Many of the estimated ten thousand New Mexicans who breed gamecocks describe cockfighting as a part of the state’s culture, dating from Spain’s colonization of this part of the Southwest four centuries ago.” People will continue to migrate to the United States from other countries bringing with them their cultural traditions, and people that who are already United States citizens will continue to practice their cultural traditions as they believe they should be able too. The promise of freedom and a chance for a better life are why immigrants continue to migrate to the United States each day. Time and time again they find out very quickly that if they practice their tradition of cockfighting they are considered criminals. The United States must find a way to be sensitive to these cultural traditions if we wish to continue to be the great country we are.
Opponents of cockfighting argue that it promotes and draws more serious criminals and fosters more serious crimes. State and federal raids have found drugs and illegal aliens at cockfights in the past. They also have pointed out the illegal gambling that goes on at most cockfights. They also continue to bring up the issue of animal cruelty. Gamecocks are very well fed and cared for throughout their life. They also are kept in a large cage or on tie out cords where they can get fresh air and sunshine and fresh grass each day. Most other types of chickens are kept inside in small cages or housed together to produce meat and or eggs, never getting fresh air or sunshine. Opponents argue that the roosters are made to fight; this is far from the truth. Gamecocks will fight when they meet each other anywhere; it is in their genetics to fight for dominance. The bird flu fear is another point opponents of the sport continue to bring to light. Bazar reports, “Authorities also are motivated by concerns that cockfighting may contribute to the spread of bird flu.” This is a legitimate concern, but is also a problem that could be easily overcome.
Legal cockfighting would eliminate all these problems. Cockfighters would be able to invite the police to legal pits to deter and stop drug dealing and other crimes. The illegal gambling could be taken care of by making the betting legal and taxed. The spread of bird flu through game fowl could be stopped by requiring each game fowl owner to have their fowl tested before they could compete or be transported for any reason. People would also be able to report all types of illegal activities, because they would not have to fear going to jail themselves. These are all things that the majority of cockfighters would be glad to do to make the sport legal.
Legal cockfighting would bring far more positives than negatives to the table. The economic impact alone would be a great benefit to the United States. With Coto reporting “$100 million a year in revenue for government-owned clubs across the United States territory of Puerto Rico”. and The Philippines were cockfighting is legal reporting an amount equal to 1.25 billion United States dollars (Cozad), and Ellick reports in that in “ New Mexico where cockfighting once was legal , cockfighting generated 80 million dollars a year for the state.” Really think about it, if these two small island countries and just two of the U.S. states generated these great amounts, if in all the United States cockfighting was a legal sport the revenue from this would be outstanding. Now you add the money in the state and federal government do not have to spend on manpower and other expenses related to investigating and arresting cockfighter, you have another great economic impact. Families would be able to keep and continue their cultural traditions. Rural communities would benefit even more if cockfighting was legal simply because of land for farms being available. When you vote for something to be legal or illegal, please take the time to research it first before you cast your vote.
- Anonymous. Personal interview. Telephone, 26 Feb. 2013.
- Bazar, Emily. “Cockfighting’s ‘cultural tradition’ kept alive in USA. (NEWS).” USA Today 23 Jan 2007: 03A. Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Web. 24 Feb. 2013.
- Coto, Danica. “Puerto Rico Cockfighting: Legal Cockfights In Danger In U.S. Territory.” Huffington Post.Publised 24 July. 2012. Web. 24 Feb. 2013.
- Cozad JR., B.L. Legalize Cockfighting. Blogspot.com, 1 Oct. 2011. Web. 24 Feb. 2013
- Ellick, Adam B. “A Ban on Cockfighting, but Tradition Lives On.” The New York Times 6 July 2008: A 14. Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. 24 Feb. 2013.
- Romero, Simon. “Bastion of Cockfighting Is Under Pressure to Ban It.” New York Times. 9 Dec. 2004: A24. Academic OneFile. Web. 20 Feb. 2013.