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Cockfighting is one of the oldest blood sports in the world. It involves two roosters inside a pit, fighting against each other until one is subdued.
While this practice has been around for more than 6,000 years, modern times have shown that cockfights are still celebrated in regions where it is legal. Here’s a rundown of areas around the world where cockfighting is highly popular.
Countries Where Cockfighting Is Popular
Cockfighting is a controversial sport around the world. Numerous countries see it as a form of animal cruelty and thus have banned any practice, but there are also regions where the sport enjoys high popularity and is celebrated as part of culture, tradition, or even religion.
It should be noted though that there are also areas where the blood sport is banned yet its illegal practice is popular.
In Colombia, cockfighting is extremely popular and a part of the country’s tradition. It’s deeply ingrained in the culture that it was immortalized in the novel One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
Cockpits can be found in every town, particularly in rural areas. The Asociación Nacional de Criadores de Gallos de Pelea also organizes an international cockfighting championship that gathers 1,200 cockfighters.
Recently, a draft bill was presented to the Colombian Congress, seeking to ban cockfighting. The draft bill has raised hackles among cockfighters, particularly peasant farmers.
Cockfighting in Cuba has had its ups and downs, with the sport being prohibited and then legalized once more in 1980. It is highly popular, however, spectators are banned from gambling on matches.
A state business organization was created with the cooperation of private bird breeders in the country. The state organization also announces several national tournaments from January to April, as well as makes trade shows, and sells fighting cocks to various cockfight enthusiasts.
In 2021, the government of Cuba passed a new animal welfare law but exempted cockfighting from the ban, citing religious reasons.
Due to the federal ban that prohibits cockfighting in all U.S. territories, cockfighting is illegal in Guam. Despite the prohibition, it is highly popular in Guam, with numerous cockfighting enthusiasts holding matches out in the open as a form of defiance of the federal ban. Cockfighters in Guam are also widely-known for transporting and selling fighting roosters.
In Haiti, cockfighting is seen as the “closest thing to a national sport.” Every Sunday, fighting events are organized in numerous areas across the country. Women are forbidden from attending cockfights in Haiti.
Cockfighting is illegal in India as the sport is a violation of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Act. Despite the ban, it remains incredibly popular, particularly on the rural coast of Andhra Pradesh.
Cockfights are staged in numerous areas around Andhra Pradesh and a large amount of betting is involved, especially during the Sankranti festival. Time and time again, authorities have tried to stop cockfighting during the Sankranti festival to no avail.
All forms of gambling, including gambling within secular cockfighting, is illegal in Indonesia. However, the religious aspects of cockfighting within Balinese Hinduism remain protected.
Despite the illegal status of secular cockfighting in the country, the blood sport remains widely popular in Bali where cockfights are known to occur in every village.
Peru is perhaps the country with the longest historical tradition of cockfighting, according to the Encyclopedia of Latino Culture.
Cockfighting is legal and widely popular in the country, with most cockpits located in Lima. Cockfight events are highly organized and attract all kinds of audiences from all social classes.
The Philippines is seen as the country where cockfighting is the most popular. Cockpits are located all across the country, with the sport itself deemed a national pastime.
Gambling is also deeply tied into cockfights in the Philippines to the point that betting managers have a system of hand signs to call out wagers.
The World Slasher Cup, considered to be the Super Bowl of the cockfighting world, as well as the World Gamefowl Expo are usually held in Metro Manila, the capital of the Philippines.
Cockfighting is popular in Puerto Rico but as it is a U.S. territory, it is included in the federal ban on cockfighting. Despite the prohibition, Puerto Ricans have been challenging the federal law, citing that cockfighting is deeply ingrained in the island’s history, tradition, and culture.
Cockfighting is highly popular and is a longstanding part of Thai culture. Betting on the outcome of a cockfight is legal at licensed venues in Thailand.
Cockfighting is akin to a national sport in Thailand, just like Thai boxing. It is common to see Thai farmers and workers crowded around a TV, watching a rooster fight on the local channel.
Cockfighting is banned in all 50 U.S. states, as well as all U.S. territories and the District of Columbia. Despite the ban, illegal cockfights are popular and rampant across the country, most notably in California and Oklahoma.
Although cockfighting has been around for thousands of years, the acceptance of the sport has declined in various parts of the world. More and more countries are passing laws that ban cockfighting, citing animal cruelty as the main reason to prohibit its practice.
Nevertheless, there are still countries where cockfighting is widely embraced and popular, as it is part of culture, tradition, or religion.