The Last Days of Legal Cockfighting in Puerto Rico

Nov 09, 2019 · 106 comments
Eileen (PR)
Is it really about cockfights? (Part I) This is not really an issue about the rights of animals or violence. What do the people that make these laws, and the ones that support its enforcement in PR, have to say about the worst inhumane acts of violence, torture and suffering committed by industrial meat, poultry and fish producción? Are they vegans, or at least vegetarians? It is so much more than that. The issue relating to animals should be addressed by us. First with an educational process, with an atmosphere of reaching a compromise, and then, through a process of participatory democracy. Impositions tend to not be the best choice for a win win creative process. And above all, and any divisive agenda, this is a Puerto Rican issue, statehood is the culmination of the colony. No liberty nor total sovereignty. With statehood, our affairs will be decided by a foreign sovereign power, by the power of representatives of 50 states, whose president in office is racist and considers the latinos an inferior race and a nuisance, and some of these representatives too. Like historic congressional documents show. They expose the most disdainful racist comments, apart from collusion as a policy towards Puerto Rico and its people since the invasion and takeover. Decisions will cater to the interests of the corporations and elite that are really in power in usamérica. This is a struggle the usamerican people are having too. Do the research, read, Disenchanted Island by R Fernández.
mary bardmess (camas wa)
"It's my culture" argument is pretty leaky. It can be used to justify anything; the abuse of women and children, slavery, genocide, mass extinctions.....whatever. We don't feed Christians to lions anymore, or crucify people, or make toys out of ivory. Cultures are human creations, not divine. We can make improvements. It's okay. Stopping the blood sports is a small step in the right direction. Humans define their cultures, not the other way around. Good move Puerto Rico. Find another hobby.
Eileen (PR)
Part II Our culture will keep disappearing, with gentrification and population leaving our island, as it is already happening because of the financial consequences of colonization. The only chance of economic recovery for ourselves as a people, in our island, is with independence and total sovereignty to decide all of our matters for our own benefit. The rest, is an illusion. There is no such thing as Spanish as a state’s official language, and many things some cherish as a different culture will, which we are, will be lost, like for example, separate Puerto Rican representation in sports, beauty pageants like ms universe, and others. Hawaii is an example of the taking over and the marginalization and disappearance of a people in their own territory. Like the indigenous people in usamericas territory. Apart from the possibility of internal resistance, and who knows, the possibility of freedom fighters like Los Macheteros, being again activated, and situations arising from the imposition of such an aberration like taking the power “of your own house” or really being evicted, by some “bully” (government) which will take over and even appropriate itself of your own essence. We have had, and have, many examples of the consequences of situations like these impositions in history. Northern Ireland is one of them. (See GlobalResearch’s article) Their current situation still portrays the regrettable consequences. #freePuertoRico NOW As per UN resolutions regarding colonies.
Daphne (Petaluma, CA)
Any culture based on cruelty to humans, dogs, roosters, or bulls is a primitive thing and should be brought into the 21st century, even if it requires legal intervention. There are other ways to earn a living.
jcs (nj)
Slavery used to be a cultural norm as well. Culture is an excuse for continuing practices that are wrong not a reason for declaring these same wrong practices right.
PrairieFlax (Grand Island, NE)
Culture? Kaporos among the Chasids; dolphin slaughter in Japan. There are "traditions" across the globe - many of these traditions should die. There is not a reason in the world today for animal abuse.
Carlos R. Rivera (Coronado CA)
@PrairieFlax You do know that SOME, but not all, groups talk about "culture" in America as sacred. And, they don't wear red hats.
Shar (Atlanta)
This 'it's part of our culture' argument has been used to justify every unthinkable action. As one example, the Times covered a doctor's efforts to legalize female genital mutilation (although she objected to the term 'mutiliation') in the US on precisely these grounds. Slavery, pedophilia, rape, snuff films - every sort of brutal perversion has had its adherents loudly shouting that it is not viciousness but rather culture. If you drive the small roads in South Georgia, Northern Florida or just about anywhere in Mississippi or Louisiana you'll find remote farmhouses surrounded by cock pens and houses. You'll also find reams of testimony from animal welfare groups as to the interrelationship between illegal dog and cock fights, drug smuggling and sales, and violent felonies. I agree that Puerto Rico should not have laws imposed upon it by the Congress without representation. I agree that it is hypocritical to outlaw this "sport" in Puerto Rico when it is widely ignored in the mainland US. But "culture" is not a whitewash for vicious brutality.
Ernest Montague (Oakland, CA)
Absolutely! Embrace cultural differences. Female genital mutilation in Northern African Muslim tribes is common and a long time practice, as is stoning of homosexuals in Saudi Arabia. We should not interfere with others. Child brides in the US? A grand tradition. In fact, an argument could be made about slavery. Embrace diversity, don't fear it.
Al (Idaho)
Whoa?! Isn't this part of their "culture" like bull fighting or child brides in the Middle East or honor killings and all the other backward or fundamentalist or mysogynistic or inhumane things that our "we love diversity" crowd tells us we have to embrace because it makes us stronger? The truth is, much of 3rd world and religious and backward societies beliefs and traditions are simply horrible. The west is only marginally better. We have no qualms about killing millions of farm animals for example, some of it under very cruel conditions but these are hopefully being rooted out and changed. Dog fighting is apparently popular in some areas. We at least don't pretend this stuff is cultural or religious based so it should be protected. If you want to be part of western secular democracies, and judging from our immigration issues it looks like most of the 3rd world does, you're going to need to "adjust" some of your traditions. The lefty, let's honor their culture, crowd needs to stand up to this stuff as well.
Al (Idaho)
@steve Judging cruelty to animals when it's just done for "fun" or culture. Yeah I'll be judgemental as everyone should be. If I ate chickens and I don't, I'd be unhappy about anyone who took 10' to cut their head off, just to torture them.
Polaris (North Star)
Many acts of cruelty have been parts of cultures. From human sacrifice to child genital mutilation to slavery. That's no excuse for innocent, defenseless beings to suffer. Eating chicken corpse is one of the worst. Chicken production: “... in both magnitude and severity, the single most severe, systematic example of man's inhumanity to another sentient animal." —John Webster Emeritus Professor of Animal Husbandry School of Veterinary Sciences University of Bristol, UK Jonathan Safran Foer in the NY Times: “'Free range,' 'cage free,' 'natural' and 'organic' are nearly meaningless when it comes to animal welfare."
DJS (New York)
"Blue’s eyelids were swollen shut and blood was dripping from its body. A handler rushed the bird to a back room where Geraldy Rodríguez Pérez, 21, washed it in a sink and lathered its crest with anti-inflammatory ointment. Mr. Rodríguez later gave another bird stitches. When a gamecock whose fight ended in a draw came in too badly injured, Mr. Rodríguez broke its neck." I gasped ,audibly, when I read :" When a gamecock whose fight ended in a draw came in too badly injured, Mr. Rodriguez broke its neck." One of the ways that Hitler trained S.S. to murder with no removes was by having them raise puppies, then ordering the men to break the necks of the puppies they had raised. The cruelty involved in cockfighting is unspeakable. “This is our life,” Mr. Figueroa said on a recent morning as he tossed dried corn kernels into the birds’ feeding dishes. “If they take this away from us, what are we going to do? I’m 70 years old. No one else is going to give me a job.” Mr. Figueroa CHOSE a life that involved unspeakable cruelty to animals. I don't feel the least bit sorry for his loss of work. The cruelty to these poor animals takes my breath away.
Talbot (New York)
This is a hideous, cruel "sport." It should be banned everywhere. You can say "heritage" or "culture" is part of a lot of hideous practices. How about beating baby seals to death? Hanging hunting dogs when hunting season is over (still practiced in Spain). Why not bear baiting? I don't care how many people it employs or how many sponge baths the roosters get before the hooklike talons are attached and they are encouraged to kill eachother for "sport."
Victor Lacca (Ann Arbor, Mi)
Seems like murder by proxy. An entrenched tradition in Spain still defiantly defends bull fighting and decadent Rome loved gladiator games where Emperors diverted the attention of the masses by staging gory spectacles. Apologetically claiming 'culture' as reasoning is akin to endorsing genital mutilation, slavery and homophobia of every stripe. There are still pockets of dog fighters in many urban American sites. All this encourages a culture of male dominance.
Dookie (Miami)
Roosters fight-it is there nature Let them fight
Catherine (Massachusetts)
Animal cruelty in the name of gambling and entertainment. Culture schmulture.
Bob (Clinton, MA)
Dragging people up to the top of a pyramid and cutting their heart out used to be part of the Aztec culture, too.
Steven Hether (Mesa, Arizona)
When Cock fighting and Dog fighting were banned in Arizona it seemed to coincide with the rise of rural white supremacy, militias, and ultra rightwing politics. Perhaps the pent up cruelty no longer expended on animals was now being directed at fellow humans. There are things that every culture does that appear to be cruel from the perspective of others from different cultures. Perhaps those cruelties are the lesser of evils and pressure relief valves for that culture. Humans are weird, aggressive, murderous animals. Social order is a veneer easily disrupted. Do not assume that you have done good by banning something. Remember all the bad we did to American society with the 18th amendment. Some changes require bloody civil wars to change cruelty. No law, no outsider, would have ended slavery in America. It is the price we pay as humans.
Oliver Fine (San Juan)
Until the States decides to treat Puerto Rico as an equal partner or a least have state status, they should lay they greedy and lazy islands of the island. Yes, the island has things that are not American, but it's not America. Most people live in abject poverty and constant econimic decline. If the goody-goody's/imousine liberals want to bring this place up to State/American standards, they should open their wallets, and bring political change to Puerto Rico.The people are friendly here, they have no future, they politiicans and cops are corrupt (9an you imagine a cop making 20k /year after 30 years of service?), federal funds are stolen, 65% of the people don't speak English. If you went to a fancy private school (oh, I'm sorry, they're called Independent), then you should get your lazy, spoiled bum down here and see the truth and rather through some fake NGO. Then , go back to your $250k job and forget about the whole thing, just like everyone else.These people don't have much to call their own. What do you believe in, money? Self-Aggrandizement? What don't you start fixing the ghettos in the States. There's cockfighting there.
Tom (South California)
"Bird Brain" is or was a common put down of some people. My son has a cockatiel that recognized me after not seeing me for two years. Taz is over thirty years old now. Are humans so arrogant to think we are the only beings who have a sense of self? Bull fights, dog fights, bum fights. Cattle recognize what is going to happen when in a chute leading to slaughter. I eat less meat now but still like bacon and eggs. We are still the top predator.
Liz (Tx)
The ilegalization of cock fighting was an unilareally made decision by the Federar giverment. No one EVER asked the island population. They just landed the law and expect meek compliance. Cock fightins is regulated in PR. The animals have their own vets, breeders, etc, ti ensure their health. This is NOT dog fighting. It is part of our identity as a culture which the goverment still wants to erase. Would you ban the bull fight in spain? That is brutal on the animal. Rodeos in US? Those bulls are ensured to be made extra angry in the pens (a rodeo guy told me). Or horse racing? Plenty of horses are drugged and ridden an inch from their lives without regard for anything but the botom line. You say PR is part of the US. Treat us with respect and dignity. Dont just tell us to fight in wars and then turn around to destroy everything we hold dear.
akamai (New York)
@Liz Yes, I would ban everything you suggest, and a lot more. Inhumane zoo; imprisoned dolphins; inhumane animal farming; etc. You asked the question; there's the answer.
AliceInBoulderland (CO)
Animals should not be forced by humans acting out their lusts for blood. Men want violence, they need to sign up and fight each other to the death in the ring, without spectators. The rest of us are busy evolving.
Patriot (West Orange, NJ)
is cockfighting more brutal than boxing? leave the Puerto Ricans alone, cockfighting has been part of their culture since long before the United States was a country. besides, the roosters probably enjoy it.
akamai (New York)
@Patriot Boxing and MMA should be outlawed also. Let's try to control the savagery within all of us.
CP (NYC)
Forcing animals to fight to the death is not a “part of your culture.” It is a cruel and barbaric activity that people get sick pleasure from and that the government must outlaw. Way past time!
Orion (Los Angeles)
Saying something is part of your culture is no excuse for continuing something that has risen to a level of unacceptability of common human decency and knowledge. Please evolve.
Liz Siler (Pacific Northwest)
Good riddance to this evil practice. Animals are not here for our entertainment. These poor birds are literally shredded in this so-called "sport."
VS (Boise)
This needed to go long time ago, some other do too like polar bear hunting in Canada and whaling by Alaskan Indians. We can’t continue to live in the past.
dguet (Houston)
Part of their culture? My ancestors practiced human sacrifice; is that part of my culture?
Kellie (New York)
As a Boricua, I'm thrilled that cockfighting is being banned. It is cruel and inhumane and should not be allowed. The same with bullfighting, dogfighting and any other sport that abuses animals. Animals are sentient beings and have no voice in how they are used. It is therefore, our responsibility to stand up and speak for them.
Daveindiego (San Diego)
May I suggest a new culture? Strap razors to their own feet and go at it, just leave the animals out of it.
Amicus Publio (Virginia)
I lived on the island for years with my grandparents and other relatives. I do not understand why the all-feminizing hand of uniformity has to reach into another tough sport. I have been to cockfights with my uncles and bullfights with my mother and so far have managed to avoid the temptation to round people up and shove them into railroad cars or to torture neighborhood cats. You disapprove of cockfighting ? Your right in a free society. Don't go. What difference could this possibly make to you or anybody else if I want to go? It is like the foxhunting hysteria in England.
RVP (Brooklyn, New York)
Unfortunately this discussion gets sidelined because of issues of Puerto Rican sovereignty. This confuses the issue. As a Puerto Rican, I dislike the US government imposing anything on the island. On the other hand, I believe cock-fighting is wrong and should stop. The question is if the US government weren't involved, would the Puerto Rican people outlaw it? I would like to think that we would.
Michel Forest (Montréal, QC)
I always find it very dishonest to justify the unjustifiable by claiming it is « part of one’s culture ». Since when cruelty is a cultural thing?
David (NY)
How is this worse than Deer Hunting? The deer did not accept terms of that agreement. Went for a drink of water and BOOM.....shot in the chest.
akamai (New York)
@David Deer are not forced to hurt another deer. Most hunters eat their kill, the way we all did hundreds of years ago.
Barb (Baltimore)
It may be "part of the culture", but that doesn't mean something so cruel should be tolerated. Slavery was also part of the culture of Puerto Rico. And plenty of people made their fortunes on the backs, the lives of slaves. Do they want to bring slavery back, too?
MrsWhit (MN)
I'd think long and hard before tying my whole culture to a vicious ritual. Surely Puerto Ricans have better traditions to celebrate.
Michelle BA (NY)
This is not about culture. This is about money. This is about a lower-income class with fewer and fewer opportunities to make a decent living. I don't support cockfighting. I think it was the right thing to do, but a more comprehensive plan should have been elaborated on the government side to provide these people with viable opportunities to encourage a different type of industry, and not just leave them hanging dry. Ex. you can't find a single organic local egg in the supermarkets. Why? Because there are no government programs or incentives. These are the people who still don't have a roof over their heads after hurricane Maria. Give them something good to with on.
Ramsey (San Francisco)
Step by step, humans are waking up to the suffering animals endure for our whims, from eating their flesh to experimenting on them to gawking at them in captivity to wearing their skins to training them to fight for our enrichment and entertainment. Animal protection is one of the most important social justice movements of our time - helping animals, the environment, our health -- and, yes, helping animals is also associated with human rights (who wants to work in a slaughterhouse?). Great news banning the inhumane, hideous activity of cockfighting!
John N. (Tacoma)
Cockfighting absolutely is part of the heritage of all Spanish colonies. If there was enough arable land in the islands for cattle, they would also have bullfighting as Mexico has. But culture does change. And the time for blood sport is nearing it's end. It isn't just deadly and inhumane for the animals; it's unhealthy for the men, and society at large. If toxic masculinity were a thing, this would be it. But there are only the environments males exist in, and our commensurate level of aggression we use to respond to real or percieved threats. It all needs to be dialed down. Up with humanity.
L. de Torquemada (NYC)
I live in Puerto Rico. I have many friends who own and breed cocks for fighting. Cockfighting, however, like bullfighting, is cruel and serves no purpose, whatsoever. I feel the same about boxing, although, in that sport, you have a man/woman making a personal decision (most times) when they step into a ring to get their brains bashed in. Cockfighting should be banned, period. Same for bullfights. Tradition should never be used as an excuse for cruelty.
Phil (Arizona)
An activity can be a part of a people's culture and still be immoral. Human sacrifice was once a part of the culture of certain peoples. Does that mean that it was wrong to stamp it out?
Isabella (NYC)
Likely the right choice but made in the wrong way - we have to stop treating PR as a colony to be tyrannically ruled over. Ps how many of those arguing that “chickens have no choice in choosing to fight” eat meat? And I can assure you that factory farming of chickens has a much more detrimental environmental impact than these small-scale “training” facilities.
Rosa M Ramírez (San Juan Puerto Rico)
Well said !
Mike (Colorado Springs, CO)
Why is "part of their culture" so facilely offered as a justification? If cockfighting is part of their culture, it is an evil part of their culture, and should be ended, whether via Washington directives or city-block activism. Lynching was deeply a part of American culture until well into my lifetime. Our horrendous incarceration practices and widespread climate change denial are also tragically "part of our culture." Plenty of other negatives to add to this list. Wish all that wasn't true, but it is. Face up to shortcomings and fight to put an end to them.
Clayton York (SF)
@Mike- I agree cock fighting is not justifiable as culture, but lynching was never legal and climate change denial has nothing to do with culture.
Maggie (U.S.A.)
@Clayton York Hanging was the primary form of capital punishment for 1000+ years prior to the invention of electricity.
Mike (Colorado Springs, CO)
@Clayton York - Plenty in cultures that has nothing to do with laws.
Francisco Cebollero (Puerto Rico)
The issue is not whether it is humane and moral or not to legally allow these fights to happen. The issue is whether colonial imposition of laws by Congress over politically disenfranchised U.S. citizens should continue to be "legal" or not.
Maggie (U.S.A.)
@Francisco Cebollero No, the issue is that all animal cruelty is inhumane, barbaric and ought be a felony. Just as no excuse can be made for the still hideous number of latino and black men in America who participate in dogfighting, often tossing tiny kittens and puppies to the adult dogs as bait to foster a taste for blood.
just sayin' (floriDUH)
no sir the issue is animal cruelty leave politics out of it
B. (USA)
I'm ok with anyone who wants to have a fighting bird, but only if you're willing to get in the ring yourself and have your fight under similar rules. Then you can fight your bird.
Steve M (Westborough MA)
@B. Don't encourage the MMA crowd.
Rich Murphy (Palm City)
Gladiators and feeding Christians to lions was part of Roman culture but I don’t see the descendants of the Romans doing it today.
Artemis (USA)
Cruelty is part of culture? Time for it to go. (More like cockfighting winnings are part of untaxed cash flow.)
Liz (Tx)
The figts, which are regulated by the way, do pay taxes.
Keef In cucamonga (Claremont CA)
Mainland Americans care more about chickens than they do about Puerto Rican people. How about give them proper representation in our congress first and then “fix” their culture second. Would be more credible.
Locker77 (Texas)
@Keef In cucamonga Pretty sure we’ve banned the people from fighting each other to the death too.
Rogue 1303 (Baltimore, MD)
@Keef In cucamonga Apparently you're unaware that "mainland Americans" are capable of simultaneously caring for humans AND animals. How about we give them proper representation in Congress and do away with violent "sports" at the same time?
Steve B (Old Pueblo AZ)
When LA banned cockfighting it was a part of Cajun culture. When Arkansas banned cockfighting it was part of mountain culture. When AZ banned cockfighting it was part of Southwest culture. Cruelty is not part of America and needs to be gotten rid of.
Tonjo (Florida)
Cockfighting is brutal. While on vacation in a Central American country I witnessed it. Not long ago Cubans were doing it in Miami. When they were arrested, the daughter of one of person plainly stated that cockfighting was part of her fathers culture. I guess from her point of view, our laws banning cockfighting is secondary.
D (Michigan)
I am Puerto Rican born and bred. Trust me, I am no fan of cockfighting. Sadly, it is part of the rural culture, though it's been phasing out for years. My biggest issue with this is not the elimination of the cockfighting, but the imposition of the ban from Washington. States are allowed to make their own laws, banning dog racing, for example. But not PR, or the other territories, for that matter. This is a clear reflection of our colonial status, the opposite of the democracy and free determination that this country claims to value. So become independent, you say? Again, it is out of our hands. Puerto Rico has shown in referendums that it wanted to be a state - thought may have changed since Trump and Maria. All my life there have been referendums, but all the referendums in the world will not change a thing, until Congress chooses to act. They, and only they, decide, not us. And that is what's wrong with this picture.
Left Coast (California)
@D No. What’s wrong with this picture is that a cruel, inhumane practice continues. Culture be damned. If you are truly against the barbaric tradition, then you should support the ban. You can still advocate for statehood rights for PR.
UMASSMAN (Oakland)
@D It is too easy for mainland Americans to sit down in front of their laptops and say "Yes, ban cockfighting." Yet we all continue to eat hundreds of thousands of ill treated chickens each year, bred for meat and slaughtered barely grown at the age of 3 or 4 months. I agree with another responder, the small farms breeding roosters to fight are a drop in the bucket of cruelty compared to factory farming of poultry. We have no right to ban something there (in PR) from here (the USA). Same thing with draft horse and oxen pulling oxen in the USA, another sport which animal activists would like to ban - these animals are generally healthy, well treated - and very good at pulling great weights. Without these competitions at fairs and farms, they will be sold for slaughter and not be bred at all.
Jose Maisonet (San Juan, PuertoRico)
In Spain cockfighting is prohibited. And cockfighting in Puerto Rico came from Spain.
Joe (NYC)
“Part of our culture” is a lame excuse for continuing to allow this practice. I’m Puerto Rican and I don’t know one Puerto Rican who thinks Cockfighting is part of their culture. These are back alley, basement practices where money is on the table. Allowing these poor animals to destroy each other for sport is inhumane and ignorant. Making it illegal is long overdue.
Jose Maisonet (San Juan, PuertoRico)
Cockfighting is for big shots in the drug business. You go to a cockfighting arena and it will be full of gangsters.
D Collazo (NJ)
As a Puerto Rican, cockfighting needs to become a thing of the past. And...the US Congress is an undemocratic power over Puerto Rico, a separate issue. But if Puerto Rican’s will neither become independent nor a state by will of its residents, that will only continue. People needs to care enough about that to do something besides complain. Don’t blame a cruel game for that. Dominoes is a far better tradition than cockfighting.
Luis Miranda (Puerto Rico)
When Cataluña decided to out law bull fights, it wasn’t because the French, Italians or Portuguese decided. It was a decision taken by the Catalan people vía their elected representatives. Although I dislike cock fights the decision to out law them was taken by a congress in which no one in Puerto Rico votes for, reinforcing a colonial relationship of one people over another.
Carl Zeitz (Lawrence, N.J.)
@Luis Miranda Tough. I don't care who ends or how barbarity ends as long as it ends. This is not exactly the issue on which to advocate Puerto Rico's ascension to statehood or independence. You'll get no sympathy for that here, especially since Puerto Rico hasn't stopped tis filthy business on its own.
Clayton York (SF)
@Luis Miranda - It is a fact PR is a colony of the USA. Like a child obeying his parents in order to retain food and shelter. Reality sometimes sucks.
Per Axel (Richmond)
Anyone who has ever been around chickens knows they males will fight, and to the death if alowed to. That is why there are many ways to cook them avaliable. Cocks ands cockrels. Unlike dog fighting male chickens are genetically programmed to fight other males for dominance. It is all about survival of the best male. Is it ethical to watch them fight as a sport? Well every fall and winter weekend we watch footbal players give themselves brain injuries, CTE. Autopsy studies have shown this. So is it OK to watch humans give themselves brain injuries and not watch chickens fight to the death? Blood sports have always been popular since the ancient egyptians. Gladiators, ring a bell? So if we have choosen to respect the cultural wish that we have football, why not accept that culturally they want to watch chicken fights? Now before yoju get all twitchy, dogs are not genetically berd to attack rivals. They MUST be trained. And that is wrong. But many animals have this selection process in their genes, horses, bulls and pigs will all fight for dominance.
Adam D. (Middletown, DE)
@Per Axel Simply put, the examples you cite in your favor (E.G.: Football players) all have the CHOICE to do so. Birds don't have a choice. They didn't randomly happen upon each other and then decide by natural instinct to defend themselves. These animals are put into a situation for which they have no biological choice to escape. They can't reason. They don't understand that they could simply avoid confrontation. Another metric to add is that football players in the context in which you imply above (NFL players) are all compensated for this effort. The football players also suffer a significantly reduced risk of death. I don't agree with the continuation of football, personally--but it doesn't stand as an example of equivalence here.
JA (New York)
@Adam D. Excellent! Could not have said it better.
duncant4 (Louisiana)
They could move to Lafayette, LA. where cock fighting is 'illegal' too. Growing up here in the 60s, 70s, 80s, there were cock pits all over Acadiana, some legendary, like Jays Cockpit and Dance Hall in Cankton. It's all underground now, but still viable. My neighbor 2 blocks down has a yard full of wire cock pens, each with a rooster ready for the pit, though raising chickens in the city limits is illegal, especially fighting cocks.
Wan (Birmingham)
@duncant4 A great failure of law-enforcement, another tradition of Louisiana. I hope that you are not proud of this “cultural tradition”.
Exhausted (MINNEAPOLIS)
Have you reported the guy? If you are silent you are just as guilty.
B (Tx)
If something is immoral, then it matters not at all if it’s part of the culture — the culture simply must change.
Amicus Publio (Virginia)
@B You mean the immorality of prohibiting enjoyment of a pastime of which you disapprove? You are absolutely right. That culture of conducting a war against what you dislike must personally end. Why is this your concern? Is someone stealing your chickens? Forcing your children to watch the fights?
Gregory (New York)
The people of Puerto Rico are subject to the laws of Congress, but have no right to vote for Congressional representatives or for the president. This is unjust, and it needs to change. Puerto Rico deserves Congressmembers and Senators. I don't support cockfighting, butnindo not support this law, imposed by Congress on an unrepresented populace. That is tyranny, and it is un-American.
Bob R (Massachusetts)
I think this is a very hypocritical decision and smacks of the colonialism that Puerto Rico is continually subjected to. An excellent point is made in the article regarding game hunting on the mainland U.S. which is a sacred cow here on the mainland, where even a whisper regarding banning hunting would be considered blasphemy. There is very little difference between the two sports and perhaps cockfighting gives the animals each a fighting chance.
tundra (New England)
@Bob R Neither cockfighting nor hunting is 'sport' in any true sense of the word. When an action causes suffering to one set of creatures for the so-called pleasure of another, that's sadism, pure and simple. Humans are rife with contradiction. Doesn't mean we should close our eyes to everything that resembles progress.
Wan (Birmingham)
@Bob R I am a vegan and have never hunted, but “whataboutism” would keep any progress of enlightenment values from occurring.
Steve M (Westborough MA)
@Bob R No difference between cockfighting and hunting? That's ludicrous. Maybe if the victorious rooster ate the vanquished...
Hypatia (California)
Cockfighting is "very much a part" of the U.S. Virgin Islands "culture" as well and will be affected by this ruling. The main site of this activity on St. Croix has been the cockfighting ring in Estate Glynn. It has also been the site of multiple gun murders over the years-- this is only one example. https://vifreepress.com/2017/03/police-continue-seek-serial-murderer-samuel-roberts-one-man-dead-two-people-injured-gunfight-cock-pit/ Very few of the murderers-- actually, any murderers, in any context -- on an 80-square-mile island are ever caught and brought to justice, such as it is there. The nonvoting representative of the U.S.V.I., Stacey Plaskett, has spoken against outlawing this brutal entertainment "as pejorative, paternalistic, yes colonialistic and downright wrong." I imagine she would do the same with dogfighting, which is also part of "Virgin Islands culture." https://stcroixsource.com/2018/05/17/congress-considering-ban-on-cockfighting/Cockfighting
Amicus Publio (Virginia)
@Hypatia Wait until the end of 2019. Then go back through easily available newsfeeds and count the number of people killed over the reintroduction of the chicken sandwich at Popeyes. Are we banning them too? I have $100 that says there will be more people killed over chicken sandwiches at Popeyes than have ever been killed in violence related in any way to cockfighting.
Hypatia (California)
@Amicus Publio "Friend of the public." Please. I will bet you one of your desperately desired chicken sandwiches that you have never been to the USVI. 2018-- Feb 17, 2 males gunshot killed at the "Cockpit". 2017- March 15, 2 males gunshot killed at the "Cockpit." 2016- July 27, male shot to death in his car outside the Cockpit in Estate Glynn. Due to the failures of data collection in the USVI, this is probably only a minimum of what has actually happened. Start here and work up through the years. https://vifreepress.com/2017/03/police-continue-seek-serial-murderer-samuel-roberts-one-man-dead-two-people-injured-gunfight-cock-pit/ It appears that one person was stabbed to death over a chicken sandwich. Any questions? I can give you my address for the $100.
Timbob (Canada)
A positive step. But really. Isn’t cockfighting Peurto Rico’s lowest priority issue???
Left Coast (California)
@Timbob You know it is possible to advocate for more than one thing at a time, right? Prioritizing animal advocacy and outlawing cruel practices can have positive implications on people.
EBM (Michigan)
It’s not low priority if you are the rooster, is it ? Or if you are a person working to end blatant cruelty to animals, which is honorable and hard work by the way . One step at a time in the direction of improving our dismal treatment of animals , is a step in the right direction , even if in your opinion it’s not high priority.
UMASSMAN (Oakland)
@Timbob Apparently it's a high priority for the US government to take away the ability of these cock-fighting rooster raisers to earn an honest living.
Dawn (Kentucky)
I just don't understand how someone can take pleasure in witnessing others--human or animal--suffer.
Amicus Publio (Virginia)
@Dawn Fair enough. You are entitled to exclude from your circle of friends anyone who enjoys cockfighting, UFC etc. I do not understand why you think that entitles you to prohibit cockfighting, UFC etc.
akamai (New York)
@Amicus Publio Because cruelty to animals and people is Wrong. Check your bible if you're religious.
Allen (Philadelphia, Pa.)
The only likely reason that cockfighting was ever made "legal" in PR to begin with is that there was no organized US concern against it. Now, presumably, there is, so it has been declared "illegal." But, it will go on and on, much as it did before, with the usual bribes buying blind-eyes from the usual corrupt officials. Anybody who isn't kidding themselves knows this, off-record.
Ann O. Dyne (Unglaciated Indiana)
Often "culture" has aspects that are evil/immoral. Any practice which produces suffering is just such an evil.
Steve M (Westborough MA)
"...violation of Puerto Ricans’ rights to make their own decisions and protect their cultural heritage" Solution: independence.
Carl Zeitz (Lawrence, N.J.)
@Steve M Solution, don't allow ugly, filthy mistreatment of animals and call it "culture" or "sport". It is unreasonable, primitive, ignorant sadism. Period, end of story.
Maggie (U.S.A.)
@Steve M Re-gifted back to Spain.
Steve M (Westborough MA)
@Carl Zeitz Ok, it isn't allowed. Feel better now?
Brian (NJ)
Not to justify cockfighting (it is, without a doubt, cruel) but if you want to ban this and you're also cool with tiny factory farm cages, you should really reconsider your ethics.
Daphne (East Coast)
Part of our culture is a poor excuse. Time to move on.
Carl Zeitz (Lawrence, N.J.)
@Daphne Torturing animals is not "culture", it's barbarity.
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