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Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Cocks fight with razor blades attached to legs ~ not only here - in Mexico !

Some call it ‘Sport’ ~ to others, it is ‘brutal savagery’. If you are to see shocking pictures depicting how cockfighting birds have razor blades  strapped to their legs to make it ‘more interesting’ – you may start detesting the  bloodsport !

The year dawned differently.  Andhra celebrated Sankranti with cock fights despite a court ban while Tamil Nadu  fumed over the ban on Jallikattu. Politicians of Andhra were united in organizing cockfights in Krishna and two regions of Godavari.  The government had allotted Rs 1 crore to each district and one minister to supervise it in their region. With official patronage, Andhra police looked the other way and TDP, YSRC, BJP and Congress leaders cheered the cocks and thousand of those betting and owners of the bird and organizers exchanged crores of rupees.

Aadukalam  released in 2011, directed by Vetrimaran, with Dhanush in lead role was hit.  The film won six awards at the 58th  National Film Awards, including the awards for Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Actor. It was dubbed in Telegu as ‘Pandem kollu’.   The film was set in the backdrop of rooster fights in villages of Madurai.   It was rooster fights and love in between for the hero.  The lines at the top are not indicative of the ‘rooster fights of Maudrai or Vijayawada’ but of far off Mexico.  Mexican cockfighting promoters on Friday kicked off an event billed as the largest exhibition of the bloodsport the country has ever seen. The annual Texcoco Horse Fair, which takes places on the eastern fringes of Mexico City, will see 16 nightly bouts of cockfighting over the space of a month – all of which end in the death of one of the animals.

Trainers from all over the country compete not only for the title of best trainer, but also to keep alive what they claim is a proud Mexican tradition despite demands to ban the 'disgusting' sport. Injured birds are given only 15 seconds to recover, even if they are incapable of fighting back; razorblades are attached to the birds' left leg to make the fights 'more interesting' for gamblers and trainers.  Trainers often spit on a rooster's head in a common technique used to anger the bird before it fights.  'Cockfighting is deeply embedded in Mexico's rural culture', Texcoco tourism spokeswoman Rosalinda Benitez told MailOnline on the opening night of the month-long bloodsport bonanza.   The event, which includes fairground attractions and one of Mexico's biggest horse auctions, expects to receive more than 600,000 visitors over the month.

'Banning these events will never be accepted by the public', said Jaime Rodriguez, a Texcoco resident who looks forward to the annual fair every year.  While cockfighting is banned in all 50 US states and Europe (it was banned in England in 1835), it nevertheless draws big crowds in Mexico, where fans come to gamble on the fights and drink until the early hours of the morning. Male birds are vicious and often emerge from the scuffles with their beaks filled with other’s feathers.  The birds are trained to attack with their legs and feet first, and use the beak to finish the job later. 

Starting on the edge of the arena, the gamecocks are shown to one another, producing aggressive crowing, before being placed in their respective corners and let loose to attack one another.  Often it is the razor blades attached to legs and harm, mutilate and bleed the opponent bird. The curved weapons attached to the birds’ legs are changed every five minutes in order to ensure they are not left blunted by the sand of the arena.

The cocks often scrap furiously on the floor of the arena, which is covered in blood from previous fights as men enjoy the cruelty. The cockfighting areana, known as a palenque, in Texcoco has a capacity of more than 3,000 people, and few seats were left unsold as the public clamoured to see the opening event of the month-long celebration. Each cockfight runs for a maximum of 15 minutes, though most are over within two. The so called sport revolves entirely around gambling, and betting odds are always 2:1 on the fight's outcome.   A fight is declared over only when one of the birds is lying dead on the arena floor.

In December of last year animal rights activists achieved a nationwide ban on the use of wild animals in circuses, imposing fines of up to £180,000 on organisations which cannot prove the domestic origins of any animals which are used in their performances. The Mexican government is currently engaged in the struggle to find homes for more than 2,000 repossessed tigers, lions, elephants and other such animals which have been freed as a result of the law.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

18th Mar 2015.

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