Sunday, January 11, 2009

Cock Fighting

This picture was taken in 1864 near Petersburg, Virginia during the Civil War. The picture shows a group of men in camp, with two black men about to initiate a cock fight for the entertainment of the remainder of the men.

Interestingly enough, cock fighting was legal up until last year in New Mexico. I think cock fighting is illegal everywhere in the United States now (although I am not sure about Louisiana). Roosters have sharp spurs on the back lower portion of their legs which they use as offensive weapons. In general, roosters are pretty aggressive, and have a tendency to want to fight each other anyway. Special roosters are raised for cock fighting that are extra-aggressive, and bred for strength and endurance. In a cock fight, the two roosters are released near each other, and then fight to the death. In some contests, roosters are equipped with steel spikes, or blades attached to their natural spurs to make the contests more lethal. Typically the people watching the cock fight would be betting on the outcome.

Cock fighting had developed into a very organized "sport" over the years, and fighting game birds from winning blood lines could command very high prices. I can very honestly say that I never attended a cock fight, and never had any interest in attending one. However, I think they still go on in many parts of the country.

14 comments:

  1. Hello again!

    A few things I want to point out about cockfighting:

    1)Yes, it is now illegal in all fifty states.

    2)In nature, roosters do fight, just like many, many other male animals. (And sometimes female!) It's a normal part of establishing dominance. There are several important differences between cockfighting as a sport and the natural fights that occur as part of establishing a pecking order, however. In nature, the losing chicken runs away, therefore awarding a dominant position to the winning chicken. There is rarely a serious injury. In cockfights, the chickens are forced into a small space and cannot leave, sometimes until the losing chicken has died.

    In nature, chickens do not have their spurs sawed off and replaced with knife blades or hooks.

    In nature, chickens do not take steroids, strychnine, caffeine, amphetamines, and epinephrine to increase their aggression.

    As you can see, there is a reason so many people are against the "sport".

    Love the blog, keep up the great work!

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  2. Very interesting.

    I guess there was no SPCA then.

    I think dogfighting was legal, too. I find it amazing that a hundred years ago people routinely did things that we disapprove of today, such as smoking, child labor in the mills, slavery, legalized prostitution, everyone owning firearms, etc. etc.

    Although I don't approve of any of the above, sometimes I think that today we are inundated with way too much information and it makes us paranoid.

    I think that as a society, we spend much too much time talking and analyzing things and not enough time just living.

    Is it really necessary to call a "Dr. Phil" every time we have a bad day or something happens that isn't to our liking? At least in those days, people took what life dealt them and made the best of it. Today we either spend hours reading about our "problems" on the internet; or talking about it to everyone; or trying to blame someone else and suing them; or taking a pill to deal with it.

    We need to simplify.

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  3. Any so-called "sport" involving death of a participant in the contest seems to be barbaric.

    So long as people will pay to have their prurient appetites sated, such contests shall continue, legal or not.

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  4. I agree with comments that the activity is barbaric. I would also say that things like cage fighting, boxing, and the new brutal mixed martial arts contest appeal to the same dark side of human nature.

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  5. @smartgirl: I find it amazing that a hundred years ago people routinely did things that we disapprove of today, such as smoking, child labor in the mills, slavery, legalized prostitution, everyone owning firearms, etc. etc.

    Uh, slavery as a question was settled ~150 years ago in the US. In many parts of Africa and the Middle East it still persists.

    Prostitution is legalized in Nevada under certain circumstances and is most decriminalized in most of Europe. Leaving aside the widespread corruption that makes it completely available in central/south america, most of Asia, Russia, .....

    Ditto for smoking, of course.

    I'm not even going to touch the gun ownership thing. :-)

    -XC

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  6. Very wise move Expat. Don't touch the subject of guns.

    A mass majority of Americans support the Second Amendment. I believe that there would be a major upheaval if any type of legislation were to ever be introduced that made any abridgment of one of our most important rights.

    Look on the web for the sad consequences of gun removal in Australia and the United Kingdom to see the danger of taking the right to protect ones self or his property.

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  7. It is NOT the Gun that Kills, It is not the Car that Killes, It is not the Planes that Kills, It is not the Drugs in the natural state that Kills, and etc., etc, etc, only the Person(S) that are utlizing them.. It is Man and Man alone, Good or Bad...
    Nanny

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  8. To Expat(ish):

    Just to clarify my comment, what I meant was that no-one in the photo seemed think that there was anything wrong with cockfighting; although I think most people would find it objectionable today.

    And I was merely drawing a parallel with other things that people did in the past century that seemed normal to them, but that many people would disapprove of and/or are uncomfortable with in our society.

    There were certainly no child labor laws, gun control laws, or smoking bans in the 19th century!!

    I was not voicing any opinion of those issues one way or another.

    And . . .I am fully aware that prostitution is legal in Nevada and in other foreign countries; and I also know that slavery still exists in many countries. But I doubt many people in our society are comfortable with or would condone it.

    And with respect to the Civil War, you need to check your facts. The Civil War was NOT primarily fought over slavery. This is a common misconception.

    The main issues for the South's sucession were: states' rights, taxes (specifically an export tax on cotton that the South was selling to England); and limiting the power of the Federal Government to interfere in the lives of private citizens.

    President Lincoln went to war to PRESERVE THE UNION, not to free the slaves. He was personally opposed to slavery and wanted to prevent it from spreading in the developing Western Territories. But he did not feel that he had the power to abolish it in states where it already existed.

    Here is a sentence taken from Lincoln's first inaugural address: "I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it now exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so."

    FYI, slavery originated in the NORTH. And FOUR SLAVE STATES fought on the side of the Union. The Emancipation Proclamation only freed the slaves in the South, while those in the North remained enslaved.

    But Lincoln knew that slavery would eventually collapse on its own with the defeat of the Confederacy. So it was an issue, but not THE issue as you would have us believe.

    And with respect to smoking and guns, it's up to each individual person as to whether or not they chose to smoke, It's none of my business and I could not care less.

    And . .. I own a gun.

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  9. I am a meat eating, gun toting liberal. I believe in self defense because the conundrum of law is that law is only for law abiding citizens, a criminal doesn't give a damn. Those high and mighty judges (and attorneys) who sit serenely in a sterile and well protected environment pontificating about moral rights and wrongs are not out on the streets protecting you or me in the first place. Often the police, bless them, arrive after the fact.

    As for cockfighting, a huge busted ring was front page news here last week. Unbelievably there is a faction who claim it is their heritage and thus its justified, whereas people like myself consider it a barbaric.

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  10. I agree re the self defense issue.

    I believe that everyone in our society has certain rights; but once you chose to violate someone else's rights, then yours are forfeited.

    I'm certainly not going to wait for the police to arrive if someone breaks into my house while I'm there.

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  11. Prostitution is only really legal in the Netherlands, and even there it's being pushed out of city centers (for instance even the legendary 'Walletjes' in Amsterdam is targeted). There's a sort of condoning in other countries as long as it doesn't attract criminality (inevitable) and stays in certain areas.

    Forcing animals to fight to the death is barbaric. I have less problems with two humans fighting, at least it's their own choice.

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  12. as of August 15, 2008 it is illegal here in Lousiana. I live in New Orleans.

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  13. All these 'barbaric' sports involve passive participation.

    I think an increase underscores a bad development in society as an active, pioneering society would not have time or interest in it for the most part. Something to watch.

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  14. My great grandfather grew up cock fighting as a extra way for cash he passed it down to my grandpa and i grew up helpin at ring side so its almost like a family tradition.... when yal had cock fighting outlawed you made my great grandfather and grandfather lose almost $20000 dollars in equipment and birds it was like a way of life for them and bam its just outlawed in a flash... I feel if you people got enough time to sit around and worry but us you got to much time on your hands you should have just left us alone!!!!!!!!!!

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