I’m not a supporter of animal cruelty, so please forgive me if this offends you on moral grounds. But when I travel to another country, I want to see another culture. This is why we jumped in a cab and got the man to take us to a cockfighting arena. Cockfighting is a billion dollar industry in the Philippines, it’s totally legal. It operates Sunday to Wednesday and from what we saw, people go absolutely bonkers for it.
Bookies sit in the crowd and take bets, it’s a 50/50 chance of winning, and you win when your rooster kills the other rooster, or dies last. They attach sharp hooks to the bird’s talons to assist in fatal blows.
We stood out like emus at a chicken’s party, the only foreigners for days. It was pretty awkward at first and the security presence was slightly intimidating. But once we got in, the locals welcomed us and taught Daniel how to bet via money waving, pointing, and a version of sign language. I understood the rules by speaking to the only other female in the building who was there selling overpriced Coca Cola. Aside from that I just watched on shocked and appalled with my hand over my mouth.
We won, we won, we lost, we won, we lost. I say ‘we’ because he lets me spend his money. But he came out equivalent to AU$2.70 ahead. Gotta bet big to win big, I guess. But gotta bet big to lose big too – which I imagine causes problems for some regulars. In fact, I’d almost bet that gambling on cockfights is the sole source of income for many of these guys.
We were told that if a cock survives the fight, they stitch it back up and wait for it to be ready to fight again. Hmm.
I just need to reiterate my apologies towards anyone this post may have offended. I completely understand how it could have that effect. But, like I said, I went there to witness. Every experience is a good experience in my opinion, and seeing the nitty gritty is just as eye opening. Cockfighting has been going on in the world for around 6000 years, so regardless of whether I went or not, it’s still going to happen. It is a downer, I agree and I don’t support it.
In fact, I raised a chicken from a small chick, named Chicky. She grew big and strong and despite having elephantiasis-like feet, I still adored her. She even had her own chicks which would ride around on her back in our garden. Unfortunately the whole family was eaten by a fox one cold winter night, but the point is, I love animals. However, we have to push ourselves outside our comfort zones to be able to learn and gain experiences, and to understand people who view the world differently to us. And importantly, try to share our own views and thoughts on matters. Which I did. I told people in that crowd that I wholeheartedly disapproved and I didn’t eat chicken for the rest of the day.