Animal rights issue stalks cockfight industry
December 28, 2009 11:31 pm
MANILA, Dec. 28 – Animal rights issue is hounding the country’s cockfighting industry.
“Cockfighting is here to stay. It has been part of the Philippine culture no matter what it takes, just like Spain’s bullfighting,” said gamefowl breeder Rolando Luzong, a member of Cockpit Watch.
He said bullfighting is a traditional spectacle of Spain and Portugal. And in some cities in southern France, several Latin American countries and in Artvin, Turkey one or more bulls are ritually killed in a bullring as a public spectacle.
Novelist Nid Anima of Novaliches, Quezon City said cockfighting should be treated as a national treasure, national identity.
“It’s one with culture,” he said, adding that roosters are wild in nature. "They always fight even if not provoked." Anima is a member of Alyansa Sabungero.
Female cockfight aficionado Princess Naldo said a cockpit has become a regular fixture in the Philippine countryside and suburban areas.
In some municipalities in the country, a cockpit is situated along with a school, the municipal hall and the church, she said.
According to Naldo, cockfight serves as equalizer between rich and poor. Be they politicians, businessmen, yuppies, laborers and peasants, they enjoy, bet, win, lose and are energized by the euphoria generated by an exciting cockfight
Aware of some foreigners who come to the country and say that "Philippine culture is not right" because of cockfighting, Naldo cited wrestling and mixed martial arts matches in the United States.
Calling these matches "a bloodsport," Naldo said wrestling and mixed martial arts are more violent than cockfighting.
Meanwhile, Alyansa Sabungero, a partylist organization has been formed purportedly to help the marginalized components of Philippine cockfighting and to uplift the gamefowl industry.
Anima said some political figures have made a mockery of their group when they sought accreditation in the Commission on Election (Comelec).
A Comelec commissioner even remarked that "sabungeros" are already well represented in Congress.
Anima bewailed that the public only see the moneyed people in cockfighting.
On the other hand, Cockpit Watch (Bantay Sabong) was organized in 2008 to guard the sport of cockfighting against campaigns being done by animal rights activist.
“Some of them rally everywhere. At first, we were just observing them," said Luzong.
These activists demonstrated in front of the Araneta Coliseum in Cubao, Quezon City in 2008 when the World Slasher Cup was held.
"That was when we finally understood they were out to stop cockfights,” Luzong said.
The anti-cockfight rallies prompted Luzong to organize Bantay Sabong to protect, defend, promote and preserve cockfighting.
While there is no doubt that Alyansa Sabungero is a political aggrupation, Bantay Sabong is a social movement, according to Luzong. But essentially, they fight for the same thing: to promote the continuity of cockfighting.
Luzong said he and Anima have been friends for a long time.
Asked about animal cruelty, Luzong said one cannot classify cockfighting as animal cruelty because it's the roosters' instinct to fight each other.
For his part, Anima said roosters do not have the instinct for blood relations. “Left to themselves, roosters fight because they love and enjoy fighting,” he said. (PNA Features)