Asked Questions About Cockfighting:
happens at a cockfight?
is an organized fight between two male chickens (roosters). The
animals feet are fitted with metal knives or ice pick like
gaffs, which measure up to 3 1/2 inches long.
Often, they have been drugged to make them more aggressive and to
clot the blood that will inevitably flow during the fight. Then
the birds are placed into a pit and held face-to-face, again to
stimulate aggression and manipulate their territorial instinct.
Meanwhile, bets are being placed among the human participants and
the spectators. During the fightfrom which neither rooster
can escapethe long, sharp gaffs stab deep into the flesh requiring
handlers to physically pull the animals apart. The fight only ends
when one rooster is dead or is too weak to fight. The loser then
gets thrown in the trash. For the winner, there is no guarantee
that he will survive his injuries.
t these birds fight naturally?
its true that this type of bird has a fighting instinct, its
natural purpose is to establish a "pecking order "and
seldom results in serious injury. In cockfighting, birds are specifically
bred for aggressiveness; their natural spurs are replaced with metal
knives and gaffs; and they are often given drugs to maximize their
aggression and stamina. Unlike birds in the wild, these animals
cannot escape. They are placed in an enclosed pit and forced to
fight until one quits, is severely injured, or dies.
is cockfighting taking place in New Mexico?
operate under an air of secrecy, much like exclusive clubs. They
tend not to advertiseonly one New Mexican cockfighting club
posts a schedule of events in the national game fowl magazines.
Based on the limited public records and anecdotal information, cockfighting
appears to be concentrated in the southern and eastern parts of
New Mexico, with pits in Hidalgo, Lea, Valencia, Sierra, Otero,
Luna, and Roosevelt counties, and possibly others. Part of the difficulty
in obtaining verified information stems from the fact that cockfighting
activity seems to be taking place without business licenses and
without paying gross receipts taxes.
cockfighting exempted from the felony animal cruelty law?
1999,the legislature wisely made intentional cruelty to animals
a fourth degree felony, recognizing that intentionally hurting animals
was a serious crime. Cockfighting was omitted from the 1999 bill
as many lawmakers felt that the animal fighting issue should be
addressed separately from that measure. Indeed, dog fighting is
prohibited in a separate section of our animal protective statutes.
Cockfighting is blatant and intentional cruelty to animals and should
be punishable as a fourth degree felony, just like other kinds of
intentional cruelty to animals.
should cockfighting be punishable as a fourth degree felony?
1981,dogfighting has been punishable as a fourth degree felony in
New Mexico. Cockfighting is no different in deserving the same status.
It is a cruel and violent activity that results in the intentional
harming and killing of roosters for fun. The New Mexico Veterinary
Medical Association and the New Mexico District Attorneys Association
both support a felony penalty for cockfighting. A misdemeanor penalty
would not curb cockfighting, as the fines would simply be considered
a business expense.
banning cockfighting simply push the activity underground?
is not, and never has been, an adequate reason not to enact a law.
Many illegal activities continuedrug trafficking, murder,
robberyeven though laws and public opinion oppose these activities.
It is likely that any illegal cockfighting activity would eventually
be eliminated through proper enforcement of the law.
gambling taking place at these events? Is that legal?
Mexico law prohibits gambling at cockfighting events. However, side
bets are a standard part of cockfighting. Evidence of this type
of illegal gambling was documented during an undercover investigation
by a New Mexico television station.
there a lot of money involved in cockfighting?
to an investigative report on animal fighting by the Humane Society
of the United States, the most common type of organized cockfight
in the U.S.is the derby, in which dozens of people participate.
Entry fees, ranging from $100 to more than $1,000,are pooled into
a pot that makes up the purse for a derby. Participants roosters
are fought round robin, and the person whose roosters win the most
fights is the winner of the purse. The pit owner may also charge
a fee for spectators. A winner could go home with tens of thousands
of dollars from one derby. The reality is, few people go home with
a lot of cash, the majority leave empty handed, no money, no rooster.
not let the counties decide if they want to allow or ban cockfighting?
a number of counties have banned cockfighting through their local
ordinances, cockfightinglike dog fighting and intentional
animal crueltyshould be addressed by the state legislature.
Failing to ban this blatantly cruel spectator sport
at the state level is a silent endorsement of events based on injury
to, and the killing of, animals. The results of a January 2001 public
opinion poll in New Mexico clearly show that support for a statewide
ban is overwhelming throughout the state. Therefore there is no
honest reason not to pass a state law. In addition, some people
in rural counties have been reluctant to take on the issue of cockfighting,
for fear of intimidation by a small minority of vocal cockfighting
enthusiasts. Some people fear for their personal safety, and the
safety of their families, if they speak out against cockfighting
in their community.
cockfighting important to new mexico s economic development?
asked about cockfightings role in New Mexicos economic
development, John Garcia, Secretary of Economic Development, told
KOAT Channel 7:"It's an absurd form of entertainment that is from
the Dark Ages. I think we need to look ahead at different benefits,
different industries ...prostitution has an economic impact, too,
but it's not legal." In addition, the Grants/Cibola County Chamber
of Commerce and the Lordsburg/Hidalgo County Chamber of Commerce
both are opposed to cockfighting in their communities. "Cockfighting
is not the image we want the world to have of Cibola County. We
dont want tourists or businesses to perceive our community
as a place that condones animal abuse," Dr. Cecelia Perrow,
President, Grants/Cibola county Chamber of Commerce.
cockfighting a traditional activity?
cockfighting has not been identified with any particular culture
or tradition. It is thought to have originated in Asia, the birthplace
of our domestic fowl, been the focus of betting in ancient Greek
and Roman societies, and eventually became a favorite pastime of
English nobility before being banned in 1835. That began the long
tradition of outlawing cockfighting. Massachusetts was the first
state to ban cockfighting in 1836. A total of 30 states enacted
bans during the 1800s with 13 more enacting bans prior to WW11.
New Mexico, Oklahoma and Louisiana are the only states that have
not acted to stop this violent and cruel activity.
cockfighting is part of the Hispanic culture in New Mexico, protected
by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo?
is not about culture; it is about cruelty. The majority of Hispanics
(76%) questioned in a 2001 poll of New Mexican voters favored a
ban on cockfighting. In fact, many Hispanics are offended that cockfighting
is associated with their cultureto assume that people of a
particular culture are more likely to engage in cockfighting is
prejudicial. Furthermore, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo has nothing
to do with cockfighting. It served to protect land grants and religious
freedom for the people involved. Cockfighting has been legally banned
in every other state covered in the treaty. Cockfighting has also
been banned in a number of Latin American countries including Costa
Rica, Cuba, and Paraguay.
children attend cockfights?
the alarming truth is that children are often spectators at cockfights.
Some cockfighting enthusiasts have gone so far as to claim that
raising fighting cocks keeps their children out of gangs, as if
they were their childrens only options. The reality is, children
watching cockfights can learn that it is ok to be cruel just for
fun and become accustomed to violence. To teach our state s
children to be compassionate members of society, adults need to
set good examples, not condone cruel, violent entertainment.
factory farmed animals treated worse than fighting roosters?
the public is gaining a better understanding of the true conditions
of animals raised in intensive confinement, as well as the poor
environmental and labor practices of the poultry industry, that
knowledge does not diminish concerned about cockfighting. Concentrated
animal feeding operations, or factory farms, have little or nothing
to do with cockfighting. Cockfighting is in no way necessaryit
is simply animal cruelty performed for entertainment.
cockfighting is banned, wont the rodeo, hunting, and ranching
cockfighting ban should be judged on its own merits and not on unsubstantiated
fears. The fact is forty-seven states have banned cockfighting,
most of them more than a century ago, and not one of them bans the
rodeo, hunting, or ranching.
is time for a statewide ban on cockfighting.
is currently illegal in all states in the U.S. except for:
States make it a felony to organize or participate in cockfighting
States make it against the law to be a spectator
Mexico Counties Ban Cockfighting:
Cibola, Colfax, Doña Ana, Grant, Los Alamos, McKinley, Rio
Arriba, Sandoval, San Juan, San Miguel, Santa Fe, Taos
Mexico Municipalities Ban Cockfighting;
Aztec, Belen, Bernalillo, Bosque Farms, Clayton, Corrales, Deming,
Española, Eunice, Ft. Sumner, Gallup, Grants, Hobbs, Las
Cruces, Las Vegas, Lordsburg, Los Lunas, Los Ranchos de Albuquerque,
Raton, Rio Rancho, Ruidoso, Santa Fe, Silver City, Taos, Truth or
Consequences, Tucumcari, Williamsburg
population data for all areas covered by bans is tallied, local
bans represent 1,410,323 people or 78% of the states population.
It is time to make it 100%.
more information on how to activate your Voice Against Violence,
of New Mexico
PO Box 1215, Santa Fe, NM 87504
954-4262 or Danielle@APNM.org