I went to my first cockfight, or “Sabong” as they call it (“tupada” if it’s an illegal cock fight), on the island of Bohol, in the Philippines. It’s as brutal as you might imagine – truly inhumane. Two roosters battle until death, or can’t fight anymore. These gamecocks are specifically bred their entire life for these fights. Each cock has a razor sharp blade (“gaff”) that’s 2-3″ long attached to their left leg. They’re fenced in a cockpit, and there’s a referee that seems to have exclusive authority on when to call a winner.
People gather around the fenced cockpit cheer the cock that they’ve just bet on. And as you’ll notice from the below video clip, the betting is frantic!
A guy standing next to us during the fight was telling us how the next fight on the card would be a good one, since both owners are known to raise birds that are tormented into significant aggression. He was visibly excited as he mentioned this. Umm…awesome (sarcasm).
The fight ends when one rooster dies, or is too weak or exhausted to fight (or in the case of the video above, runs away!).
Gamecock battle scars — Rooster with gaff slices across its body
You stay classy, Philippines!