Cockfights around the world
A cockfight is a blood sport between two roosters
A cockfight is a blood sport between two roosters (cocks), or more accurately gamecocks, held in a ring called a cockpit. The first documented use of the word gamecock, denoting use of the cock as to a “game”, a sport, pastime or entertainment, was recorded in 1646,after the term “cock of the game” used by George Wilson, in the earliest known book on the sport of cockfighting in The Commendation of Cocks and Cock Fighting in 1607. But it was during Magellan’s voyage of discovery of the Philippines in 1521 when modern cockfighting was first witnessed and documented by Antonio Pigafetta, Magellan’s chronicler, in the kingdom of Taytay.
Two owners place their gamecock in the cockpit. The cocks fight until ultimately one of them dies or is critically injured. Historically, this was in a cockpit, a term which was also used in the 16th century to mean a place of entertainment or frenzied activity. William Shakespeare used the term in Henry V to specifically mean the area around the stage of a theatre. In Tudor times, the Palace of Westminster had a permanent cockpit, called the Cockpit-in-Court.
The combatants, referred to as gamecocks, are specially bred birds, conditioned for increased stamina and strength. The comb and wattle are cut off in order to meet show standards of the American Gamefowl Society and the Old English Game Club and to prevent freezing in colder climates (the standard emerged from the older practice of severing the comb, wattles, and earlobes of the bird in order to remove anatomical vulnerabilities, similar to the practice of docking a dog’s tail and ears).
Cocks possess congenital aggression toward all males of the same species. Cocks are given the best of care until near the age of two years old. They are conditioned, much like professional athletes prior to events or shows. Wagers are often made on the outcome of the match
Cockfighting is a blood sport due in some part to the physical trauma the cocks inflict on each other. While not all fights are to the death, the cocks may endure significant physical trauma. In areas around the world, cockfighting is still practiced as a mainstream event; in some countries it is regulated by law, or forbidden outright. Advocates of the “age old sport” often list cultural and religious relevance as reasons for perpetuation of cockfighting as a sport.
Cockfighting is common throughout all of Southeast Asia, where it is implicated in spreading bird flu.Like Islam, Christianity might shun the belief in spirits, but in Southeast Asia, as in Mexico, indigenous interpretations of the veneration of saints and passion plays dominate. In the Christian northern Philippines, respect is accorded the veneration of traditional anito (spirits), shamans number in the thousands and Catholic priests are powerless to stop cockfighting, a popular form of fertility worship among almost all Southeast Asians. Also in rural northern Thailand a religious ceremony honoring ancestral spirits takes place known as “faun phii”, spirit dance or ghost dance, and includes offerings for ancestors with spirit mediums sword fighting, spirit possessed dancing, and “spirit mediums cock fighting”, in a spiritual cockfight.