The ubiquity of cockfighting is shocking. Even in places such as the United States where the practice is illegal, underground fighting continues to be a lucrative (and inherently cruel) industry. Before a fight, roosters (or gamecocks) have their spurs cut off without anaesthetic, and metal or plastic razor-sharp blades (known as gaffs) are attached to their legs. Sometimes their beaks are sharpened. In the cockfighting pit, a pair of birds are provoked and pitted against each other. Trained to be violently aggressive, the roosters may be further stimulated with drugs, such as methamphetamine. The battles involve intense injuries and bloodshed, which cause incredible pain for the birds, and often result in at least one death.
In this interview, we hear two different perspectives on cockfighting, one from the United States and one from Puerto Rico, where the practice remains legal but enmeshed in criminal activity. Tune in to hear about the relationship between cockfighting and crime, more about the activity, arguments by proponents and opponents, and how positive change is happening.
Dana Campbell is a lawyer with the national nonprofit organization, Animal Legal Defense Fund. She also started her own animal law practice in Rochester New York. She teaches Animal Law as an adjunct professor at Cornell Law School in Ithaca New York. Leisha Swayne is the Vice President of the Humane Society of Puerto Rico, and an Animal Cruelty Investigations Consultant for the AdopciónMascotas.com. She is also a member member of the Animal Rights Commission of the Bar Association.
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