In countries where cockfighting is outlawed, the blood sport is seen as an activity that is nothing but a practice that is cruel to animals. However, in several regions where cockfighting is legal, the industry built around this practice is a big part of the economy.
Cockfighting and Its Economic Implications
While many countries dismiss cockfighting and prohibit the activity, there are also numerous countries that benefit from it. One prime example is the Philippines, where cockfighting, or sabong as it is locally known, is a way of life and aids the country’s economy. It is a booming billion-dollar industry, with more than 2,000 dedicated stadiums across the country.
Hundreds of Filipinos participate in cockfights as spectators, cockfighters, fighting rooster breeders, betting managers, gaffers, or chicken surgeons. Cockfight enthusiasts watch matches and bet on their favored roosters as betting is an integral part of the entire process.
Wagers range from 10 to 100 USD, or even up to 10,000 USD for spectators seated on the VIP bleachers. Betting is also a way for individuals to gain extra income.
Aside from betting, breeding and selling fighting roosters is another lucrative business. Cockfight enthusiasts from all over the world travel to the Philippines to buy and sell fighting roosters. Gamecocks can cost anywhere from 80 USD or, depending on the breed and lineage, all the way up to 3,000 USD or more.
During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, online cockfighting or online sabong skyrocketed in popularity in the Philippines, raking in millions of dollars in wagers each day. Online sabong contributed enormously to the Philippines’ economy at a time when everything was at a standstill and most economies were slowing down.
However, despite how its billion-dollar revenue helped keep the Philippines’ economy afloat, it was eventually prohibited due to the rise of countless crimes connected to it.
Another region that greatly benefited from the cockfighting industry is Puerto Rico. A U.S. territory, the island of Puerto Rico’s economy has tanked with a poverty rate of 45%. But the cockfighting industry helped support the island from nearly falling, employing countless workers, generating bets, and boosting tourism.
The cockfighting industry gained around 100 million USD annually in revenue from bets, tickets, food, and other expenses. In 2003, In 2003, more than 1.2 million people worked in the industry.
In 2018 however, the United States passed an amendment to the Farm Bill titled HR4202, or the Parity in Animal Cruelty Enforcement Act. The amendment extended the federal ban on animal fighting, particularly dogfighting and cockfighting, to U.S. territories in addition to U.S. states.
Numerous Puerto Ricans, as well as the citizens of the other U.S. territories, have decried the ban, but the U.S. Government has no plans of repealing the act.
Madagascar is another country where cockfighting is highly popular and a big business. It is even said that cockfighting is more popular in the island country. Poverty is widespread in Madagascar, and cockfighting is seen as a way to make lots of money quickly.
For some, cockfighting is an activity that is needlessly cruel to animals but to many others, it is a way to make a living. In countries where cockfighting is popular and legal, cockfighting is a lucrative industry that supports the economy and helps thousands of individuals earn additional money.