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Cockfighting Campaign


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Organized cockfighting is a fight between male chickens (roosters), in which people gamble on the outcome of the fight, and which always ends in the death of one of the roosters. Razor-sharp knives called gaffs, up to 3 1/2 inches long, are strapped to the birds’ legs and cause deadly injuries to the opponents. Often doped up on stimulants, the birds are tormented into anger by being held face-to-face and are then dropped into a small pit to fight each other. The metal weapons worn by the birds sink deep into the birds’ flesh, so that the handlers sometimes have to pull them apart several times in a single fight — whenever one bird isn’t strong enough to pull free. Birds who lose the fights are often considered nothing more than trash and are thrown in "dead piles". Dead or dying, they’re simply thrown away.


New Mexico is one of only three states in which there is no statewide law against cockfighting - Louisiana and Oklahoma are the only other two states where cockfighting is allowed. To put the American public’s disgust for the "sport" of cock-fighting in perspective, 30 states and the District of Columbia made cockfighting illegal in the 1800’s. An additional 13 made it illegal before World War II. Twenty states make it a felony to organize or participate in cock-fighting and 33 states make it illegal to be a spectator at a cockfight. Although New Mexico has no statewide ban on cockfighting, eleven counties and at least 27 municipalities in New Mexico have banned cockfighting through local ordinances. The counties and municipalities with bans are from throughout New Mexico, and include areas that are both rural and urban. In addition, the combined population of those counties and municipalities with bans represents 76% of the state’s population.


It is offensive for humans to entertain themselves by watching two animals hack each other apart. Cockfighting is a blood sport, whose sole intention is to cause the death of one of the animals, and as such should be banned by civilized societies. In recent years, the public has seen undeniable evidence of the relationship between cruelty to animals and violence against humans. Children exposed to cockfights may be learning that it’s alright to intentionally hurt animals for fun and that the animals are disposable items. Hidden cameras at cockfights have shown children wringing the necks of dying birds before flinging them into the trash. Other children watching appeared to be torn between confusion, pity and shame.


Throughout history, many heinous things, such as slavery, child labor, and the subjugation of native Americans and women were all strenuously defended on the basis of tradition, culture, and even economics. Animal fighting is no different. Some cockfighting enthusiasts claim that local economies will benefit from the money spent by participants in their communities and in local feed stores (for chicken feed). However, economics does not justify the continuation of a brutal sport which involves intentional cruelty to animals



Animal Protection of New Mexico, Inc. (APNM)
P.O. Box 11395, Albuquerque, NM 87192
(505) 265-2322 | (505) 265-2488 (fax) | apnm@apnm.org
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